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Lighting Design

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Attwood, adapted by Catherine Miller


As the tale of Offred, a Handmaid of Giliad slowly unfolds in her own words, the world of her story ebbs and flows between flashbacks from a past before a revolution instigated by a theocratic regime, to the painful, yet powerful tale of her existence as a forced, child-bearing Handmaid to a married Commander of the new ruling order.  In The Handmaid’s Tale the lighting expands and contracts with her story, containing moments of flashback like a shadowy, high contrasted, and vivid echo.  The lighting then expands to show the present world of her prison within the Commander’s house and the city surrounding. With slight variation in color and shadow, she regards and narrates these moments of her life.  But even though she has the power to stop the telling of her story and directly address the audience in her warmly lit, pointedly focused light, her control is usurped by the reoccurring nightmare of her murdered husband and stolen daughter.  Shadows of those pursuers dance uncontrollably across the giant brick walls of Giliad as the whole space is covered in the distorted shapes of the forest she stands psychologically trapped in.

director - Catherine Miller

scenic/costume - Jeremy Floyd

lighting - Michael J. Stanfill

2010 - Northwestern University

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