Hello! I’m Will Monks, the Lighting Designer for Who Cares, and Company Lighting Designer for LUNG. We’ve been working on Who Cares over the past few weeks and months and we finally begin technical rehearsal this weekend. The first audience are seeing it on Monday – it’s a very exciting time!
The previous version of the show was superbly lit by Dave Clare in The Lowry’s Quays Theatre. It would have been fantastic to keep that lighting design, but this time sees us touring to mainly schools and community venues. It’s awesome that we’re taking the show to locations that don’tnormally have performances in them, but by their nature they’re not set up to run the equipment you find in a purpose-built theatre space such as the Quays. The biggest part of my job has been creating a rig that is suitable for all of these spaces. We need the kit to be able to run off household power sockets, fit inside small, low ceilinged classrooms, and be set up in the short time between other activities going on – all while fitting in the back of the tour van. It has to look good too!
The crux of the lighting design is that each lighting unit fulfils many purposes. Working closely with Matt the director, Jen the designer, and the rest of the team, the lighting rig, the actors’ blocking, and the set design have been through uncountable permutations to create something that is both artistically excellent and also works everywhere we go. Each choice of lantern type, position, angle and colour has been made to give the greatest scope for variation of functional illumination, emotional impact and dramaturgical exposition. A light that tightly covers a locker in one scene can give the enclosed feeling of a cramped bus three lines later, and provide an abstract sense of isolation the page after that. The process feels like an incredibly rewarding game of conceptual Tetris.
This project feels like it has enablement at its heart. The carers have enabled their loved ones, and in we’re enabling the carers to have their story heard. The Lowry’s Learning and Engagement team are running wraparound activities to increase the audience’s engagement with the piece.