For the world premiere of Noah Haidle's Princess Marjorie at Costa Mesa's Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, Visual Terrain, Inc.’s principal lighting designer Peter Maradudin teamed up with local fluorescent fixture manufacturer Bartco to realize the vision of set designer Darcy Scanlin, who was one of Entertainment Design’s Young Designers of 2004.
"Darcy and the show's director, David Chambers, were very much influenced by the work of fluorescent artist Dan Flavin," says Maradudin. "The visual concept of the piece is that there are two rooms, side by side: one for two brothers, the other for their cousin Marjorie, who is returning home after many years’ absence. We wanted to be quite clear, even from the opening preset, that the world of the play is not realistic, that it is a subverted fairy tale, and that large theatrical gestures would be the norm, not the exception," explains Maradudin.
To that end, the space was delineated by fluorescent tubing, with pink GAMTubes for Marjorie's room and blue tubes for the boys. To increase an otherworldly sense, the two rooms "float" above a suburban lawn, with green GAMTubes used on the fluorescents under the deck to heighten the "grass" effect. The cost of the dimmable fluorescent fixtures, however, was more than the production could bear.
"After scratching our heads over it and realizing how important the fluorescents were for telling our story, I simply emailed Brad Barton of Bartco, and presented our case to him," explains Maradudin. "I have used their products on a number of architectural projects over the years and love their flexibility. Coincidentally, Barton had just seen an installation of Dan Flavin's work and was intrigued. He is a supporter and neighbor of South Coast Repertory [Bartco is in Huntington Beach] and graciously donated the 58 4’ fixtures with Mark X dimming ballasts. We were knocked out by his and Bartco's generosity. They are completely responsible for the success of the design."