The New York Times’ critic Charles Isherwood wrote “Director Elizabeth Lucas’s gently luminous staging of Adam Guettel’s “Myths & Hymns,” presented at the West End Theater… Mr. Guettel’s elegiac work, first performed under the title “Saturn Returns” and seen only briefly inconcert in New York in 1998, is a musically eclectic collection of songs that alternates between adaptations of 19th-century hymns and classic myths. What Ms. Lucas has supplied is aslender but effective thread of story that illustrates on the painful intertwining of love and loss in human experience”

Isherwood continues: “The intimate confines of the theater (in a church) — with its upholstered pewlike seating and a vast rotunda looming overhead —well serves the theme: the search for transcendence through the certainties of religious faith or the vagaries of human love or both.  Sorting through piles of boxes stuffed with forgotten mementos, Ms. Balgord’s character  (the mother) is assailed by ghosts from the past, rising before her like shadows cast by the moonlight glancing off the jumbled piles of long-unused furniture. Her happy meeting with her future husband, Bob Stillman, is recalled in the song “Hero and Leander,” in which he sings of her as “my lighthouse on the shoreline, my passion on this lonely sea,” images that chime nicely with the seaside attic setting. Yet Ms. Lucas’s poetic staging, washed in Herrick Goldman’s shimmering lighting design, provides a satisfying frame for them without twisting itself in any narrative knots. “

Aptly described by Mr. Isherwood, the small Off Broadway theater on the Upper West Side lent itself well to this challenging and imaginative production.  The design team worked to evoke an environment that was at once confining, yet filled with memories and able to encompass a world of memory and dreams.  As the Lighting Designer Herrick utilized his limited resources and rented 6 HES Technospots to supplement the 32 conventional fixtures that were the theatre’s inventory.  Using these resources and his imagination he created many worlds and environments to highlight the “luminous” songs and emotions created by Mr. Guettel, Ms. Lucas, and the talented cast.

Some of these environments evoked a surging seascape under a full moon, an attic at glorious sunrise, a women’s clinic, a beach, and a drama filled family dining room.

Creating this production with only 6 fixtures and some skillful transitions was a challenge and a joy.  Audience members were frequently in tears.

Equipment List:

  • 5 6x9 leko
  • 4 6x12 leko
  • 9 50° s4 leko
  • 6 36° s4 leko
  • 2 Par64 MFL
  • 6 S4 par wFL
  • 4 6” Fresnel
  • 1 24”x24” rosco litepad and dimmer
  • 2 R40 6’ strips
  • 1 Df-50 hazer
  • 3 Rosco Custom R79/R83 prismatic gobo
  • 3 Rosco Fiery Sunset Gobo
  • 1 Glass Rosco Moon Gobo
  • 6 High end TechnoSpot
  • 1 Hog500
  • 1 24x2.4k sensor rack

 

Credits:

  • Music and lyrics by Adam Guettel, with new narrative by Elizabeth Lucas
  • Directed by Ms.Lucas
  • Lighting Design: by Herrick Goldman
  • Associate LD: Susan Nicholson
  • Choreography by Wendy Seyb
  • Music supervisor, Robert Meffe
  • Sets by Ann Bartek
  • Costumes by Emily Morgan DeAngelis
  • Sound by Janie Bullard
  • Musical director, Katya Stanislavskaya
  • Stage manager, Kristine Ayers
  • Presented by Prospect Theater Company, Cara Reichel, producing artistic director; Melissa Huber, managing director
  • WITH: Linda Balgord (Woman), Ally Bonino (Trickster), Matthew Farcher (Lover), Donell James Foreman (Shapeshifter), Anika Larsen (Daughter), Lucas Steele (Son) and Bob Stillman (Husband).
  • Head Electrician: Nicolo DiPietro
  • Rentals: Chris McMeen Christie Lites

 

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