I came to the conclusion a long time ago that I can be a really arrogant writer. Not that I think I’m the best writer. And yet it seems to me that as a poet, I’ve almost been trained to look down upon fiction writers. Perhaps I’m just bitter.
In any case, I have always had a great deal of respect for playwrights. Writing plays or even movie scripts is a whole other level of artistry. Definitely not like prose fiction writing.
During grad school, I had the opportunity to get to know Amanda Weir (not the swimmer). Amanda was in the Playwriting concentration, studying under Mac Wellman–an experimental theater heavyweight. Towards the end of my second (final) year, Amanda approached me about photographing a production of hers. I gladly accepted and a few months later, I was at the dress rehearsal of Unfamiliar Comforts, performed at 3-Legged Dog.
As I shot away, I came to the realization that I was really enjoying myself. As in my other experiences shooting theater productions, there was this intensity and stress when I realized that if I missed a shot, it would be gone forever. There was also interesting lighting and a sense of plot (I use the term loosely) that needed to be captured in the photos.
Amanda, the cast, and the rest of the production team ran through the rehearsal twice. In the middle of it, a guy named Jeremy asked me if I’d shoot the following dress rehearsal. He did lighting design for it and was hoping to get some shots. I could have been stingy and said no, but I was having fun, had all my gear, and I didn’t have anywhere to go, so I agreed.
That’s how I photographed Between the Shadows and became friends with Jeremy Hutchison. I eventually got to photograph a second performance of Between the Shadows at the Here Arts Center, became friends with Jeremy, and photographed some of his artwork.
Between the Shadows was definitely very different from Unfamiliar Comforts, but just as intriguing.
I’m starting to think that I should write some plays just to shoot them. In that way, creating work that depicts emotions or probes questions in ways I’ve never tried before. If you’re interested in modeling or acting (or participating in any way) in a play that might only be performed in front of a few cameras, let me know. Or if you know of anyone with a play that needs to be shot, or if you are going to shoot a play and want advice, let me know.
All photos in this post are from the performances at 3-Legged Dog.
Unfamiliar Comforts was written by Amanda Weir, directed by Wes Hopper, designed by Lilia Trenkova.
Between the Shadows was conceived and directed by Rania Khalil. Performers included Adam Matta, Nellie Perrara and Beth Phillips. Live soundscore by Adam Matta. Media by Jeremy Hutchison.