My thespian heart had a bit of a flutter last week. Thursday, the long awaited Thursday, I saw National Theatre’s production of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch as Frankenstein and Johnny Lee Miller as the monster. How can you possibly go wrong with that! To top it off, Danny Boyle directed it. It ticks off so many boxes the only thing that could have been better was to have seen it live and not in the movie theatre. Frankenstein is very multi-layered and with two such brilliant actors to make it come alive, it gave food for thought. There are themes of man playing God, scientists that go on mad quests without ever asking why they do what they do, and the quest for immortality through our achievements. One of the most fascinating themes is how the way we are treated by other people shape who we become. The monster’s take on events, is that humankind has taught him to be evil by not accepting him for who he is and only reacting to his outer appearance. They never try to look beyond that to find out who he is, even to find out if he is good or bad. And their evil treatment of him teaches him to be evil. There was a wonderful scene when Frankenstein tells his wife (they’ve just married) that he has created a human being and she tells him that if he wanted to create new life they could have married years ago and had children. That is the natural way to create new life. She really does speak with the voice of simplicity and reason.
I also attended the lighting convention LuxLive at Earl´s Court. I like conventions. They are a great way to learn about different companies and to network. At LuxLive there were loads of companies that I had never heard of and that made the convention an excellent opportunity to find out who they were. The other good thing about conventions is the seminars. I listened to quite a few of them, the most interesting being a discussion panel talking about the use of LED in retail, Paul Nutty´s talk about the lighting design for Superdry on Regent Street, and Phil Caton´s talk about lighting for Selfridges´ denim studio and Christian Louboutin at Harrods. I especially liked the talk by Caton since he was quite generous with the way his team tackle a project. Lighting design is a funny business that way – people don´t what to share how the do what they do. They have opinions but rarely share they work methods.
I am a sucker for good use of natural lighting. This weekend included a visit to the British Museum. I confess that I was not that interested in the contents of the museum, shame on me with such excellent collections, but the central gallery is amazing. If you go there, you must take time to walk around it, ignore that you will walk into people, and just look at that skylight. I could spend an entire day in there, watching the changes in light and how that changes the atmosphere of the room. The pattern of glass makes interesting shadows on the walls. When I was there it was sunny but the sun was also setting before I left so I got to see how the much warmer light of the setting sun coloured the white walls of the room.
The British museum also offered another light feature that was not a planned effect. A light play in one of the staircases created a green and yellow pattern on the floor. It looked really nice until you start to wonder how the effect is created. The culprit was a metal halide lamp that should have been changed. The greenish light from the old and defect lamp, in contrast with the warm coloured light from the working lamp created this lovely pattern on the floor. I loved that pattern but someone needs to change that lamp!