Ugly Lies The Bone | Designing a Projected Landscape

Ugly Lies The Bone | Designing a Projected Landscape


My name is Luke Halls. I’m the projection
designer forUgly Lies The Bone. As part of the creative team,
I’m brought on quite early on. We have conversations with the designer
and the director about what we’re trying to achieve, and specifically for this project,
how we deal with virtual reality — VR being a huge part of the play
and a part of the experience.My name is Indhu Rubasingham.I’m the director ofUgly Lies The Bone
by Lindsey Ferrentino.
This is the biggest show I’ve done
with video and projection.
It’s an integral part to the whole design.
So it’s also about the Florida world.
It’s also about the rocket launch.
It’s also about the domestic.
It’s a poetic language
throughout the whole piece.
I’m Es Devlin. I’m the set designer
forUgly Lies The Bone. A lot of Indhu’s work was in bringing
the piece into this larger space. I think that’s why she asked me
to work on the piece with her. She knew that, to communicate this web
of connections between people right up to the back row of the circle, it did need a kind of gesture —
a kind of larger scale gesture.This came from Es’s brilliance
of creating this dome-like world
to which projection and video
could work really well with.
Here we have home, Titusville.And then also, on top of this,
we have the AV world.
ES: The piece is about a returning soldier
who has been facially disfigured and she’s come back to where she grew up,
to this tiny town, Titusville. Just the pure geography of it, actually, just looking at it from above
tells a huge story. It’s this place that only exists
because of the space programme. The actors, when they’re in that shape, they feel they’re in something
that speaks of quite large ideas, but also holds them.What’s great about the design of this play
is that you’ve got this big epic landscape
and then you’ve got
this very small playing area
which is, hopefully,
quite claustrophobic and domestic.
So you’re playing with both the epic
and the intimate.
So, somewhere between the global
and the local is what led to this shape. We found a common denominator,
a sort of correlation between the rhythm of seeing products on a shelf
and houses in a row. Titusville got drawn. These shapes
all got sent into the National Theatre. They took our drawings,
CNC cut all of these parts, and then it was a real jigsaw puzzle and they were in there for months
piecing it together endlessly, getting everything in the right place,
making sure it all lined up. The critical thing was that,
for Luke’s projection to line up on it, it had to exactly match the model
he had built. Every day, he said,
“Whatever you do, don’t change anything “because I’ve made all my moulds in 3-D
and they’ve taken weeks.” LUKE: Projection is very good
at explaining what she is seeing. So when she puts the goggles on, this bowl becomes a representation
of what she’s seeing. Part of the play is creating an ice world, an ice landscape that feels very different
from her home town in Florida. So we created this environment
which is all in 3-D and 360. This is the first moment that she opens
her eyes and sees this world. There’s quite a lot of work
that’s involved in this process. In order to just get to this imagery,
we have to take the design, look at the building construction
and how it’s going to be built. There’s thousands of buildings
on this set. As part of that process, we take a scanner
that’s usually used to scan building sites, we bring it in here and we scan the space. We then can use that data
to create a 3-D model that enables us to directly map
a pixel onto a specific area. ES: Part of what Luke was trying to do was
map quite specifically onto each building so that he could get the shadows travelling
around each building, map the journey of cars. So, it being specifically related
to one set of drawings, the build and the virtual build
became really important. LUKE: This is a really good example
of another part of the play, which is her real-world environment. We’ve mapped
exactly onto each road in the set. Each building is mapped exactly. This is where we needed the scan data
to get that accuracy.When it’s something that enhances
the whole thing, the theatrical experience,
that I love about video and projection.To show her lost in this big world,
but she’s down-stage
so you have her emotionally close to you
as an audience,
that’s what the video helps show —
her isolation and distance in the world.
When you’re in a 900-seater, you’re going,“I want to feel like we’re in a studio box
then like you’re in a big amphitheatre.”
So that was what was really interesting,
as a creative team,
how to create all those worlds,and how to make them mix
and move softly and gently between them.
LUKE: I really love to work on pieces where video and projection
is written into the story, so isn’t just a backdrop, but is actually
integral to the meaning of the play. But ultimately, what we are
all interested in as theatre practitioners is helping tell a story.


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