Lighting That Is "Achingly Beautiful and Incredibly Violent"

The play The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde has been described as "both achingly beautiful and incredibly violent." When lighting designer Kate Leahy lit the show for a production at the University of Texas, she wanted to express both extremes.  Using texture and angles in the lighting to differentiate between the two psychological worlds, Leahy created a world of 'beautiful violence.'

Lehy's design was conceptualized to "let us see the ugly cracks in the beauty." Jekyll’s world was lit with straight angled front light, downlight, and backlight. Hyde’s world was lit with low and side angles. They both shared two hiside systems of 38 sharply focused patterns: R78465 Abstract Truss, half of which were warm (232 Super White Flame Green to Tungsten) and one cool (728 Steel Green). These patterns created a setting of steel beams, erratically thrown about the stage.

Painting the proscenium surround were 12 more Rosco gobos, six R77440 Saigon Roofs 1 and six R77441 Saigon Roofs 2. The etched texture of the gobos echoed the paint treatment of the floor, which was inspired by 19th century etchings of London waterfronts."

DrJekyl_5The sinister industrial architecture above the world of the play contrasts with the elegant etching of the world below, which creates a sense of conflict that matches the inner turmoil between Jekyll/Hyde and expresses both the beauty and the violence that Kate Leahy wanted to project.

Kate Leahy has designed lighting both nationally and internationally for celebrated recording artists Vanessa Williams, Nelly and Jill Scott, among others. Theater credits include Romeo and Juliet at the St. George’s Theater in London and the Al Bustan Festival in Beirut with director Daniel Kramer. Other credits include The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and new works September Play, Fight, and Blue Point at the University of Texas at Austin.

For more information about Kate Leahy visit

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