The Curious Incident at The Ohio State University: Part Two, Lighting Design

lighting design for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
(Courtesy of OSU)

A novel by Mark Haddon, an Olivier and Tony Award-winning play by Simon Stephens with a London production at the National Theatre, a hit on Broadway, and now an interesting college production with media design by Alex Oliszewski, lighting design by Mary Tarantino, scenic design by William Ledbetter, and costume design by Julianne Nogar. The professional designers of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which ran April 10-20, 2019, at The Ohio State University, comment on their work. Check out Part One on the media design.

Lighting Design by Mary Tarantino

Live Design: How did the script inform your lighting?

Mary Tarantino: The script will invariably influence all designs for a production. Whether the play is Shakespeare or a devised work that begins with ideas and images that are crafted into text and visual configurations of performers and design compositions, the script is at the core of theatrical creation. In the case of Curious Incident, the scenic designer provided a gridded neutral landscape or canvas for the lighting designer to shape the many required locations for the script.

lighting design for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

LD: How did the lighting and video work together?

MT: The video (digital light) and physical light were very tightly woven together. The best way to describe this is in painting terms. At times, the physical lighting was static, providing a base or foundation of color and/or pattern, with digital lighting layered on top, in order to create collisions of moving media to support an aggressive world of light for the lead character to respond to. At other times, digital light was a support for physical lighting, particularly in scenes and locations that were an extension of the lead character’s imagination. One example is Christopher’s dream of being an astronaut in space. In this case, he was isolated in four moving spotlights tracking him with BlackTrax beacons, surrounded by a deep and dim purplish blue expression of outer space, choreographed in such a way that he appeared to be floating above the other actors. Digital light projected star fields and the cosmos on the set as well as intentionally spilling into the audience areas. 

lighting design for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

LD: What was your biggest challenge on this production?

MT: The biggest challenge was the scope of the play and how the design team wanted to provide the strong visual support to it and the performers in the time allotted to properly tech the show. Everyone came to the table committed to the creative and research goals we set for the production. The BlackTrax opportunity evolved fairly late in the process, and yet ultimately was the key to our successful realization of the production’s design vision. The director, performers, technicians, and designers together agreed that the intense commitment was worth the effort. Everyone was all in for the adventure.

Stay tuned for more on the scenic design and costume design!

Full Production Team

  • Chair – Janet Parrott
  • Producer – Mandy Fox
  • Production Manger – Sherée Greco
  • Director & Co-Choreographer – Kevin McClatchy
  • Movement Director & Co-Choreographer – Jeanine Thompson
  • Scenic and Properties Designer – William Ledbetter
  • Costume Designer – Julianne Nogar
  • Lighting Designer – Mary Atantino
  • Sound Designer – Eve Nordyke
  • Media Designer – Alex Oliszewski
  • Technical Director – Chris Zinkon
  • Stage Manager – Dana Petersen
  • Dramaturg – Anna Guse
  • Assistant Director – Jason Speicher
  • Assistant Lighting Designer – Braden Held
  • Assistant Sound Designer – Curtis Myers
  • Assistant Media Designer – Kelsey Gallaher
  • Assistant Stage Manager – Jerrett Crowthers
  • Dialect Coach – Mandy Fox
  • Fight Choreographer & Assistant Movement Director – Jason Speicher
  • Ticket Office Manager – Carolyn Jakubczak

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