Melanie Wilson‘s Autobiographer is an extraordinary performance work. Her writing handles complex, affecting material with great care and honesty; her stong vision for the work invites beautiful design responses.

I designed lighting for the production, my second collaboration with Melanie following Iris Brunette. Brilliantly, the project offered both creative scope and the resources to create an ambitious and dynamic design.

During an earlier R&D phase – inspired by a series of scientific images of a mouse brain – I had conceived of a canopy of tungsten lightbulbs, which would visually represent the brain cells of Flora; would help contain and hold our audiences within the space; and which I could use to both light and animate the performance: during the performance, as Flora’s dementia develops, her experiences move between lucid recollection into jagged mental confusion.

“…the shifting canopy of bulbs fizzes and explodes with light…” – TIME OUT

To realise the design, I collaborated closely with set designer Peter Arnold, and Fuel’s amazing production management team.

Autobiographer opened at the Dublin Fringe Festival in September 2011, and the production was nominated for the Best Production Award.

We created the kind of experience which is very hard to document: photography and film cannot match the live experience. But I hope this trailer gives at least an impression…

Photo © Monika Chmielarz 2011