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Epstein managed to create a flexible light plot, he says, “based around some of the larger and unchanging themes and ideas of the play. One constant was that the play is set inside the actual theatre at Trinity Rep. These people had walked into an abandoned theatre full of theatrical lighting instruments already in the air. Another constant was that, unfortunately for the characters, although they had a room full of lights, they are in a world without power. So, we created a very simple plot that could theoretically be run by some sort of power generator.”
Characters brought lamps and practicals they might have gathered from their previous hiding spots for a sense of home. “Given their level of fear of what happens in the dark, they gathered worklights and bare-bulbs to make sure that the room was well lit,” adds Epstein. “Within this structure, we had the flexibility to shift the scenes to accommodate whatever script changes might arise.”
Epstein and Hurowitz got new pages at the end of rehearsal breaks during techs. “We would literally shout back and forth between tech tables as we would prepare a whole new idea to try in five minutes. If one of us had a stronger feeling about something, the other would follow his lead as we put together a sequence,” Epstein recalls. “Sometimes I found myself responding as much to a sound or video choice made by Peter as I was responding to the new text. It was fantastic to work that way—designing together and in realtime—and it was so truly and deeply collaborative that it was hard to tell where one person’s idea started and another person’s ended.”
Hurowitz says song selections changed as the show went through rewrites, and each ending required a different tone. Finally, he ended with a lighter sound, “to bring it back to the earlier tone of the show” after a disturbing soundscape that included TV static and the generator clicking off as the lights went to black.