Betsy is an NYC-based lighting designer, endlessly fascinated by the ways in which color and shadow can shape a story. She found her passion for lighting after registering for the wrong class and has been enchanted by its magic ever since. Betsy is passionate about creating work that sparks meaningful conversation. She finds inspiration in the way her collaborators experience the story. Having finished three years of grad school without a single cup of coffee, she finds that the energy of a rehearsal room gives her more than caffeine ever could.
Marys Seacole tells the story of what it means to be a caregiver, what it means to be a woman, and what it means to be black. The design team was interested in grounding the story through the historical Mary and keeping her Jamaican roots ever-present. In reading the text, I pulled inspiration from a stage direction referencing Mary’s Mother, Duppy Mary, that appears each time she enters the space. The direction reads, “we love her and she is terrifying”. These words helped me create a vocabulary of light that was both beautiful but full of an eeriness that kept the audience on their toes.
Written by: Jackie Sibblies Drury
Director: Machel Ross
Produced By: NYU Tisch Grad Acting/Design
Venue: The Shubert Theatre
Further Than the Furthest Thing
Further Than the Furthest Thing explores secrets and the ways they shape a person and the world around them. When the characters are forced to leave their island for the “h’outside” world, they find themselves unable to adjust. In their new home, not only is their unique dialect not accepted but they are haunted by the dark history of the island. It was important for me to explore how difficult life can become when we don’t share our truths and are taken out of our comfort zones. As the characters are forced to face their pasts, they are forced away from nature and their comfort zone. In lighting this production, I used this relationship to nature to amplify the characters’ inability to adjust to life away from their home.
Written by: Zinnie Harris
Director: Kareem Fahmy
Produced By: NYU Tisch Grad Acting/Design
Venue: The Atlas Theatre
A Dream Play
Third Year Lighting Thesis. Visual world crafted by Betsy.
A Dream Play tells the story of Agnes, the daughter of the Vedic god Indra, who has come to earth to understand why the language of humans is complaint. The play jumps through time between and within scenes, creating the feeling that we are watching a dream unfold before us. We never know where we will be next or who we will encounter once we get there – the only constant: a refrigerator. The play begins with everything exposed, a large concrete wall looming behind the space with lighting equipment onstage in plain sight. As set pieces fly in or rise from the traps between scenes, the actors are moved around the space by interlocking turntables, recreating the lack of control that dreamers have. Lighting transforms the space by expanding and contracting with each scene. Oscillating between hopefulness, despair, and emptiness, the light follows Agnes’s journey by exposing the space as she sees it. Every aspect of the production will work together to reinforce how Agnes views her time on earth – “It’s not real but maybe it’s more than real. It’s dreaming while you’re awake.”
Written by: Caryl Churchill
Venue: The Golden Theater
“M.A.D.Fuck” uses the narrative and aesthetics of a BDSM party to explore the stages it takes to find one’s identity. The four dancers, each represent a stage in finding one’s identity (moratorium, achievement, diffusion, and foreclosure). In lighting this piece I assigned a color world to each of these four stages creating a dramatic shift in the stage picture as each dancer’s narrative took control.
“Mappae chorograpia” began as an exploration of cartography and grew into a physical and metaphorical mapping of space through movement. Drawing inspiration from ariel shots of major cities around the world, the piece blends and examines the linear quality of the man-made world with the organic design of nature. The lighting of this piece followed the narrative of the sun. Beginning with the low light and stillness of sunrise the light gradually builds throughout the piece before diminishing into the calm of a sunset.
The Little Foxes
The Little Foxes, drama in three acts by Lillian Hellman, a chronicle of greed and hate in a ruthless family in the American South, produced and published in 1939. (Encyclopedia Britannica)