The action in Lucy Guerin’s contemporary dance piece, Corridor, is confined to a narrow stretch of space that runs between two single rows of chairs for the audience. The dancers begin by casually strolling back and forth talking on cell phones, but their movement gets more physical as the piece progresses. Interested in spatial arrangements as well as movement, the choreographer collaborated with a fellow Australian, the lighting designer Keith Tucker, to create visual tension in this confined space. “She was very keen for it to be non-theatrical in a traditional sense,” says Tucker, who toured with Guerin’s company on a recent trip to New York City, where Corridor was seen at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, and Structure and Sadness was seen at Dance Theatre Workshop.
There are no traditional theatrical fixtures in Corridor, but instead, 12 white metal industrial fixtures hang over the performance strip, with 500W clear glass globes controlled via Entertainment Technology Horizon Control software on a laptop. The light follows the dancers as well as a series of translucent acrylic mirrored screens that move on wheels. “The idea is to help focus the eye rather than sculpt the light,” says Tucker. In one scene, additional lighting comes from a set piece that looks like a six-armed monster made of white, long-necked desk lamps run via battery to accent the dancers as they put on and take off rustling white paper lab coats.
“The light in the first half of the piece uses standard incandescent lamps and is very warm,” notes Tucker. “In the second half, fluorescent and discharge lamps create a colder light.” Two light boxes with vertical fluorescent tubes—one behind each row of chairs—allow light to spill through the audience onto the dancers. The reflective screens are also used to represent a shower, lit starkly by one of the overhead fixtures at full, creating one of the most visually arresting moments in Corridor.
Tucker also served as production manager for Structure and Sadness, an emotional piece based on a tragic bridge collapse in Australia. His company, Megafun, has done design and production projects on everything from Guerin’s work to the opening ceremonies for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and a giant waterfall of liquid chocolate. “I am interested in interactive media and engaging people,” says Tucker. “Everything we do is grounded in lighting and technical theatre, taking those skills and turning them into other experiences, from commercial to very edgy.”