The Gap In The Light – As we grapple with a changing world – divisive politics, unstoppable temperature rises, never ending wars – Engineer Theatre Collective explore what it is to be truly afraid. Blending striking physical storytelling with visceral design, The Gap in the Light traces the nightmares that disturb the sleep of our modern world. How far do we have to fall, and who will catch us when the rope snaps?

John Bowles recently had the chance to interview George Evans (Co-Artistic Director of Engineer Theatre Collective and co-director of The Gap in the Light)…. playing until May 27th, Diorama Theatre, London.

The Gap In The Light is a very evocative title; a very good title.  What sort of metaphor is it?
 
The title stands to embody various themes explored by the show. It is also designed to prompt an audience to ask questions of their experience – what, for them, was the Gap, the Light, and what was the relationship between the two? We hope that answers will not all be the same.

I watched the promotional video on YouTube and it occurred to me that the setting allows for some very creative lighting opportunities. It must be an interesting piece to rehearse?

Lighting has been key to the development of this show. In a way it’s been an exercise in lighting design in reverse – as opposed to using light directly, we’ve explored how the absence of light can be used to create imagined space and illusion. Much of the show being in the dark has made rehearsals very interesting (and at times very difficult!), but has forced us to think creatively when solving the problems posed.

The New Diorama Theatre is a wonderfully intimate space, how are you using the space for your play?

We’ve created an interesting audience configuration, not yet used at the New Diorama. We wanted to make use of the theatre’s natural intimacy, making the audience feel that they are immersed in the world of the show, while also allowing space for them to project imaginatively onto the space in front of them.

How important is it to you that the use of a ‘heightened’ imagination and fantasy is used by your audience?  This piece sounds quite immersive.  Are you looking for your audience to have a physical response?

With much of the show happening in the dark, the imagination is engaged in a very active way. For more fully lit parts, the hope is that the ground will have been laid for an imaginative engagement and investment that is greater than the normal theatre experience. We have blurred the spatial distinction between the audience and the action, making the audience feel ‘inside’ the world of the show, which will hopefully result in a more ‘physical’ response than usual at the theatre.

In reading about the play, it sounds like you are drawing on many different styles of theatre, not just horror?  How would you describe this piece?
 
The horror genre has certainly been very important in our development of the show, but it now incorporates various different styles. This is a piece that asks questions of its audience, encouraging them to engage with the action in front of them. While offering a thoroughly entertaining and exciting story, it galvanises the audience to scrutinise and think about what they have seen, and how it might be relevant to their own experience of the world.

What is the most flattering thing an audience member could say to you after seeing The Gap In The Light?

That they were asked questions by the show, and had a good time!

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John Bowles
John Bowles, having started his career on Australian variety television at the age of ten, had notched up 300 hours of live national TV by the age of sixteen. As an adult he has gone on to star in many theatrical productions such as ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and ‘Cats’. He has produced, directed and written for television but admits his favourite role is as presenter, and he relishes the opportunity to talk to interesting show business people and tell their stories.