Young & Suicidal

I was recently commissioned to photograph a new play in Liverpool. I love this kind of work. I love the challenge of shooting live theatre and bands, making the most of the stage lights, sometimes balancing it with a little fill in flash but never overpowering the set lighting. This was a very small & intimate venue http://lanterntheatreliverpool.co.uk so I knew I wouldn’t be using flash at all. ISO set to auto. Fast zoom lens and making good use of the olympus 5 way image stabilisation.

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Smith & Natalie …………….. contemplating!

 

I was really pleased to have this commission as I love the theatre. I love the escapism and the immediacy, but most of all I simply love the magic of it. Maybe it’s because I’m a photographer but I enjoy the lighting and set changes as much as the production and constantly wonder at the genius of the set builders, stage managers and producers. So when I was asked to photograph Young And Suicidal, a new play by James Shaw, I wondered how a low budget play with a cast of two staged in an intimate little theatre could compare to some of the major productions I’ve seen – Phantom, South Pacific, War Horse!?

There is of course no comparison. You can only measure it by the enjoyment and pleasure experienced and of course those lighting and set changes. And on that basis it didn’t disappoint.

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Young and Suicidal follows the lives of a guy named Smith (played by Barry Mason) who used the internet to look for a suicide partner  and a girl named Natalie (played by Anna Hudson) who becomes interested his plan.

It’s a difficult subject that’s handled really well. The play was witty, sad, thought provoking and at times bloody hilarious. For me it was marked with that same genius that the big productions have. The sets were so well thought out and the scene changes so well done that you forgot you were watching two actors just 20 feet away. For a couple of hours you were drawn into Smith and Natalie’s world and shared their ups and downs as they came to terms with their lives. And that for me is the magic of Theatre.

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Anna Hudson and Barry Mason were really great as Smith & Natalie. It must be so   difficult to hold the audience when there are just two characters, but they did it. They were brilliant and if you ever get the opportunity to see this play………get on it!         Or indeed, if you ever get the opportunity to visit the venue – The Lantern Theatre, then do it. It is a lovely intimate theatre with a wonderful bohemian style bar which is so cosy you will want to stay there forever!

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The job was quite a workout for the Olympus OMD EM1 but it proved to be up to the challenge.  Mostly working at 1600 iso with a shutter speed between 1/20th and 1/50th of a second. The Olympus pro 12 to 40 f2.8 zoom meant that I didn’t need to make any lens changes throughout the performance and the flip out screen allowed me to use the camera like an old style waist level finder giving us those great viewpoints. I am more impressed with this camera every time I use it and so glad I gave up my  giant SLR’s. Be sure to follow my blog for more OMD adventures.  Any  questions ……………….. ask away.

 

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