Yi Zhao


U.S.A. | World Premiere
Lighting design for Hoi Polloi's Republic, based on Plato's famous work, in particular the chapters on the concept of morality. Written by Noah Mease, directed by Alec Duffy, with a set by Mimi Lien, clothes by Oana Botez, and composition and sound design by Steven Leffue. It features Jess Barbagallo, Lori Parquet, and Jason Quarles.

Republic was developed over the course of two multi-week residencies at Duke University, and was presented at Manbites Dog Theater in Durham, NC by Duke Performances. It had a New York premiere at JACK in Brooklyn in March 2014.

My work stems from a close collaboration with set designer Mimi Lien. We created an inclusive physical environment that sets the tone for philosophical and spiritual inquiry by representing an economy of formal means—a sort of blank canvas. To this end, four sculptural lighting elements—glowing, moveable columns—illuminate the action and the space, by varying in intensity, setting temporal rhythms, as well as constantly shifting our perception of the space through the performers' manipulation. From the beginning, it was important for us to achieve this without the use of conventional theatrical lighting. The result is a unique and intimate experience for an audience of 60.

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