Obsidian Tear is a highly acclaimed ballet by multi-award winning British Choreographer, Wayne McGregor. Created in 2016 for London’s Royal Ballet, the piece recently premiered in North America performed by Boston Ballet. Set to the music of Finnish composer and conductor, Esa-Pekka Salonen, the performance by an all-male cast is underscored by a simple stage environment featuring Rosco Custom LitePad HO90 as the sole, evocative visual element.
“Because the music is so powerful I wanted to do something that was extremely brutal on stage - very raw and not very technological at all”, said McGregor who collaborated with Lighting Designer, Lucy Carter, on the set design. “We’ve kept it simple: a huge wooden floor, no sidelights, the wings are totally out. A glowing strip of orange floor light suggests a volcanic source, but also a sense of threat.”
Boston Ballet in Wayne McGregor's Obsidian Tear; photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy Boston Ballet
Boston Ballet Stager, Amanda Eyles, explains the symbolism of Obsidian Tear: “There is a band of light in front of the stage which increases in intensity and again, it could be many things. I always feel like it’s molten lava flowing along the front of the stage. It could be interpreted as a kind of barrier within which everybody is contained on one side, and you cannot go on the other side. With Wayne’s work, it is never a clear, direct, one-solution answer. Wayne likes to have this flexibility within the work so that people can access it in all sorts of different ways.”
The orange band of light on stage is created by several large (1498mm x 1440mm) Rosco Custom LitePad HO90 units aligned across the entire width of the proscenium. Lighting Designer, Lucy Carter, combined the warmth of the 4000K fixture with sheets of translucent orange Perspex acrylic as a top surface, to produce the searing lava-like glow that McGregor desired.
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