ICEMAN blog post by Don Slater | Quotidian Theatre Company

Don Slater
Don Slater

Quotidian Theatre Company’s production of Eugene O’Neill’s ambitious ensemble piece The Iceman Cometh opens Friday and runs through November 24. Quotidian’s resident lighting designer Don Slater has this to say about his work onThe Iceman Cometh:

I have been lighting Quotidian Theatre Company productions for 14 years. Almost all have been at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda. As a lighting designer, every production brings with it a related set of challenges: some to the script, some to the director, some to the other designers, and some to the space. QTC’s production of Iceman is no exception, but is heightened by the intensity of the script, not to mention the quality of this cast.

Steve LaRocque, seen here as lit by Don Slater in Dancing at Lughnasa, plays Hickey in The Iceman Cometh
Steve LaRocque, seen here as lit by Don Slater in Dancing at Lughnasa, plays Hickey in The Iceman Cometh.
QTC's previous O'Neill production, Long Day's Journey into Night, was also lit by Slater. L to R: Andy Brownstein, Michael Avolio, Stephanie Mumford, and Steve LaRocque
QTC’s previous O’Neill production, Long Day’s Journey into Night, was also lit by Slater. L to R: Andy Brownstein, Michael Avolio, Stephanie Mumford, and Steve LaRocque.

Having lit over 35 productions in The Writer’s Center, I know what I can and can’t do. I am very familiar with Stephanie Mumford’s costuming and Jack Sbarbori’s set dressing. I have done several shows for QTC in which Michael Avolio was a member of the cast. He is a talented, hard-working actor. Iceman is his directorial debut. He is a brave man. This is a wonderful show, but it is seldom produced because it is an enormous challenge. Michael has devoted himself to it and I am indebted to him for having asked me to light it. We have had many discussions about the lighting, my concepts, and Michael’s expectations. I will do my best to meet them. My lighting design is spare and simple. The lighting is very “space-focused” rather than “face-focused”.  There will be a lot of shadows.

"McSorley's Bar" by John French Sloan, 1912
“McSorley’s Bar” by John Sloan, 1912

Early on, Michael sent around a picture of a painting by John Sloan entitled “McSorley’s Bar” depicting the interior of a working man’s bar in 1912 New York City.  The painting became the inspiration for my vision of the show. I see the back room at Harry Hope’s saloon as a dark refuge that our cast of delusional characters retreats to every day. Each of the tables lives in its own space. Upstage, the front of the bar benefits from some light in from the street. The grimy window at downstage left provides no illumination. The overall feel of the space is on the gloomy side. There will be a brighter feel to the daylight acts. The gas sconces on the walls will cheer the room a little. As a lighting designer, I am not given to either deep colors or shows with a lot of light cues. I have described my lighting style as naturalistic; this lends itself to many of Quotidian’s productions and particularly to Iceman. The lighting should not intrude upon the scenes, but at the same time, it must properly paint the picture for the audience. I am still working on the color palette for the show. The final decisions on the look will be Michael’s. I will ensure they are carried out.

I am very excited to be a part of this production and to have the opportunity to write about it. As a designer, I have no role backstage and I will have the privilege of watching the finished product with Michael on opening night. I am very much looking forward to it.

~Don Slater

The Iceman Cometh w textQuotidian Theatre Company presents
The Iceman Cometh
by Eugene O’Neill
Oct 25 – Nov 24, 2013

Featuring Steve Beall, Matt Boliek, Frank Britton, Danny Brooks, John Decker, Tiffany Garfinkle, Genevieve James, Carolyn Kashner, Steve LaRocque, Ken Lechter, Brian McDermott, Brandon Mitchell, Louis Pangaro, Manolo Santalla, Ted Schneider, Chris Stinson, Christian Sullivan, and Frank Vince.
Director: Michael Avolio.
Artistic Adviser: Bill Largess.
Stage Manager: Christine Alexander.

 Show times are 8pm Fridays and Saturdays, and 2pm Sundays, with one additional 2pm performance on Saturday, November 23.

Tickets are $30, or $25 for seniors and students, and can be purchased by cash or check at the door, online at Brown Paper Tickets, or by phone at 1-800-838-3006 ext 1 (ask for Quotidian Theatre Company). $15 per ticket for groups of 10 or more (email for reservations). Subscribers, email QTC or call 301-816-1023 for reservations.

All performances are held at The Writer’s Center: 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD.
The venue is a short walk from the Bethesda Metro Station. There is free parking on Saturdays and Sundays.

3 thoughts on “ICEMAN blog post by Don Slater | Quotidian Theatre Company

Add yours

  1. We would like to subscribe but would like to know how to pick dates, seats,…and if dates are exchangeable if we have to work.



  2. I apologize for causing more trouble.

    We are subscribers and have 2 tickets for October 27. Could we possibly change to October 26 (and being really pushy, front row, if possible)?

    Thank you very much.

    Aron Primack Sent from my iPad



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