The Jackson Hole Off Square Theater Company contacted me to photograph their staged reading of The Lion in Winter, a 1966 play by James Goldman about Henry II of England, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and their children (include Richard the Lionheart) during the Christmas of 1183.
The play was made into a movie in 1968 featuring Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn. It was also made into a television show in 2003 with Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close. Though those actors are gone, the actors who played in this rendition directed by Natalia Macker, went well and was quite enjoyable.
Presented in two parts, the play relates the trials and tribulations of the medieval era and illustrates how people have not changed in 1000 years. The intrigues, devious nature, and constant infighting are no different today than they were at any other time in history.
Given the play was presented as a staged reading, I at first thought it wouldn’t be too interesting but I was quite wrong. Even though the actors held their scripts to read from, they did such a good job of interacting with each other and making the reading dramatic that them holding their scripts didn’t take away from the action at all.
One interesting technique that the play used was a narrator at the side of the stage to give audible cues to the audience for actions that would have required more props and action than the play afforded. Whether it be Henry drawing a sword on John or Eleanor cutting herself with a knife, the lack of props didn’t detracted from the play.
One of the best parts of photographing on a stage with the lighting is that I don’t have to add any drama to the image, I just have to capture it at the correct moment. So often lighting in things can be bland, so I work hard to add great lighting to give dimension and emotion to the image.
It’s important for me to deliver dramatic images to my clients to give them the feeling of a moment which would be lost otherwise with boring lighting. It’s not the camera that makes the photographer better but rather a sense of timing and ability to manipulate lighting to make the image striking and exciting. And if you can’t change the lighting, then finding a place that makes the image good and the lighting workable is just as important. When I teach photography, I impart in students that it’s important to work the image. With digital photography, you can see what you’re getting, so you can keep adjusting and get the image just right.
For those more interested in learning some of my lighting techniques, check out my training DVD Flash Photography with Aaron Linsdau at TVL Video.