Richard Burton Theatre Company, Dogville
The adaption of a film that was acclaimed for integrating Brechtian staging motifs with intimate and psychologically complex close-ups, provided very distinct challenges and required careful planning. Brad seized these opportunities from the start – looking forensically at the film but also at the milieu of a dislocated and depressed small town America. It was a pleasure to work in such an immersive way with a designer who immediately reassured me with his passion for story telling and a desire to provide for a clear, uncluttered narrative. We began the process early, and it is no exaggeration to say that Brad would have something to offer every time we went back to the model and floor plan in the weeks prior to the build.
Brad excels in the clarity of his vision. He looks to avoid filling the stage unnecessarily and would always question whether a feature would add to the audience’s understanding of place and time. Many of our thoughts were ambitious as the events within the plays took on both a real and symbolic acceleration to the epic (the plays ends with a mass killing and apocalyptic fire) and Brad kept faith with these and found solutions as budget and resource restrictions began to bite.
His qualities are many, but his persistence and determination to realise our common ambitions for the production made him a pleasure to work with. Crucially, he sets himself in the middle of the work, never outside of it. He has an innate sense - even at the early drawing stage – of what will work within the space. He was absolutely right in concluding that the traverse staging (which we both felt to be the best solution) would not work diagonally in the space.
It was a big production, with some 17 actors. Children, firearms, fire. A script that was being developed as it progressed in rehearsal. Brad assimilated all of this and produced a beautiful set, well lit through his rapport with the lighting designer - populated by characters who were helped by costumes that offered actors the help they needed to find the period and mindset.
I would be very pleased to work with Brad again. He’s a talented man.