May 2017: Catriona Gillham will run the lighting for And Go to Innisfree during its run at Bourglinster and FEATS 2017
What inspired you to help as a technician on this play?
I had worked on lighting once before - on the production 'Harlem Hotel', with Anthony McCarthy. I knew it would be interesting, but what surprised me (pleasantly) is how creative a task it is - especially the design aspect. The actual operating of the lights turned out to be an interesting challenge, too; Ant taught me that it involved instinctively finding the right moment to fade in/out/across depending on the mood and what the actors were doing (and not just bluntly pushing buttons), and sometimes even problem-solving (figuring out what to do when an actor missed a line we usually took as a cue, for example). I enjoyed the experience very much, and so I naturally jumped at the chance when John asked me to work alongside him on Innisfree - not to mention that getting involved in a new show always gives me an opportunity to meet more friendly, talented people!
What is the process you work through to decide how to support the play technically?
With the lights, the first thing we have to do is to look at the script and note the scene changes, character changes, mood changes - any sort of change that ought to be highlighted, really. You also have to take into account the director's vision for the show too, of course, and that means collaborating with them and figuring out, together, how to translate that vision into lighting. Innisfree is an interesting one, as the whole play is done in one scene, in one location and with the same actors on stage throughout. It is also deeply psychological. For those reasons, John's design primarily reflects changes in the main character's mood, her state of mind and her relationship with the other 'characters'. I won't say any more than that, as I don't want to spoil the show for those who are planning to see it...
Have you enjoyed working as a technician and would you like to do it again?!
Absolutely! It's wonderful to see how things work backstage and understand just how much work goes into putting on the show, and it's nice to get involved in theatre and meet new people without necessarily having to be on stage every time. It's also nice to feel that I'm making a positive contribution; plenty of people are willing to stand in the spotlight, but for that to be possible, someone has to put the spotlight there in the first place! What's more, as an unexpected bonus, I've found that doing the lighting has helped to ease my own stage fright - the first few times I performed, I subconsciously felt that some mysterious, unforgiving, God-like being decided when we would and would not be seen and heard, which added to the nerves of getting on stage. Realising that these things are all done by mere mortals - and friendly ones at that - has come as quite a relief!