Director John Fulljames talks about the deisgn for The Lion’s Face
The Lion’s Face will be designed by Alex Lowde who worked with The Opera Group most recently on The Nose and lit by Jon Clark who lit Into the Little Hill for us earlier this year as well as Street Scene last year. I’m working with Alex at the moment for Opera North on The Adventures of Mr Broucek and we are using all our spare moments to chat about how we want to approach the production of The Lion’s Face.
The opera which Lena and Glyn have written feels so pure and we want to find a way to capture that in the production. We need to find a beautiful, simple environment for the opera – simplicity is going to be the key. Glyn’s libretto is full of evocative images which are laden with the memories of a lifetime – and particularly focuses on an elderly man’s memories of a childhood birthday party. Our challenge is to find a visual way to represent the loss of coherence which comes with dementia so that an ordered set of memories come to seem incoherent as we move through the piece. We want to achieve this, while at the same time suggesting that the history itself still lives on even if the memory doesn’t.
Alex and I went on a research visit to Simon Lovestone’s laboratory and an intensive care home in South London in September; it was interesting to analyse the spaces in which patients were living and carers were working. We were curious about the personalisation of institutional space, through photographs of family and mementos from earlier in life – and want to find some way to capture the sense of a person being represented in space in our production.
Its early days in our process and we’ll spend the next few weeks playing around with pieces of cardboard…