Black Comedy

Earlier in the week I photographed a production of Black Comedy, a farce by Peter Shaffer. The play centres on the events that take place in a flat during a power cut, and features a reverse lighting plot. This is to say that the stage is lit only when the action takes place in darkness. The play opens with a darkened stage and the first few minutes of action take place as if the lighting were normal. However, a few minutes into the show there is a short circuit, and the stage is illuminated to reveal the characters in a “blackout”. So, the first challenge for the photographer is the almost complete lack of stage lighting!

Luckily there is a moment where there’s virtually no movement and I was able to capture this shot, which is a 2 second exposure at F4.5 ISO800. You can actually see more in this shot than you could with the naked eye!

Thankfully, most of the rest of the production is well lit, the only other challenge being a raised upstairs bedroom area (seen at the top of the stairs in the picture above). I had to photograph these scenes from the top of the raked seating towards the back of the auditorium to get a good angle.

Otherwise, there were plenty of visual moments to capture as the characters groped their way around the stage.

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