A Severed Head reading

Today I met up with the cast and crew of A Severed Head to photograph their rehearsal at Corpus Playroom. This was the first reading rehearsal I have attended. We were booked in the big dressing room in the basement, which only has lights from the roof. Luckily I had brought along one flash as well as snoot, which when put on the flash restricts the light beam. This enabled us to light the scenes in a more interesting way. We had Bethan Davidson and Adam Butler Rushton acting, and Emer O’Hanlon directing. Luckily the costume designer Flora Chatt was also there, and willing to help me to hold the flash since I had not brought any flash stand with me.

Adam Butler Rushton
Bethan Davidson. That red dress was a great visual addition to the photos, giving a much needed bit of colour.
If we had photographed this with a bare flash then the light would have gone everywhere. By using the snoot we got a narrow cone of light. In this case it would have been nice to have a bit of light on Adam’s face also, but that was the limitation of our lighting.
Here Flora is standing to the left, to give Bethan a beautiful side lighting.
It took some time for us to work out our routine, but after a while Flora and I got really good at getting the scene properly lit. Since it was a read-through, the actors had not yet memorised all their lines and were reading parts of the script. I tried to snap the shots when they looked up.
You slept with your psychoanalyst?
Bethan Davidson reading A Severed Head.
Flora, the lighting wizard.
Bethan tells us of her plans to be a drag king.
“I thought you knew I was sleeping with your brother as well? It was so obvious.”
“You what?!” Again here it would have been nice with a bit more light on Bethan in the background.
We also played a bit with the shadows.
Adam’s character’s mistress and the psychoanalyst have run off together.
Practicing the entrance with some random props.
I am not sure if this was part of the play, or if they were adlibing it.
It probably was part of the play, because Emer looks really happy.
Adam (or rather his character) has just walked in, with some wine in his hands, only to find his wife with another man (again!).
He seems to be taking it quite well.
We ran out of scenes that only featured Adam and Bethan, and instead just did a few more fun shots.


Classic, looking out through the window shot.

I am really happy with how the photos turned out. Packing the flash was just an afterthought right before I left home, but I am glad I did, it made a big difference in what we were able to create. Many thanks to Bethan, Adam, Emer and especially Flora for helping out with the flash.

You can book your tickets for the play on the Corpus Playroom webpage.

– Johannes


Antonia – Bethan Davidson
Georgie – Isla Iago
Alexander – Rufus McAlister
Honor – Matilda Wickham
Martin – Adam Butler Rushton
Palmer – Caspar Latham

Production Team
Director – Emer O’Hanlon
Producer – Victoria Bowden
Assistant Producer – Zoscha Partos
Executive Producer – Jack Rowan
Costume Designer – Jessie Mathewson, Flora Chatt
Technical Director – Ronit Wineman
Set Designer – Emily Barker
Publicity Designer – Charlotte Randall

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