The Society of British Theatre Designers

The Value of Design

Paul Burgess

Hard Places

Hard Places
  • Production: Hard Places
  • Company: Mercury Theatre Company, Tinderbox and Rage Productions Mumbai co-production
  • Venue: Mercury (Colchester, UK), Prithvi (Mumbai, India), Choice (Cochin, India), Epicentre (Gurgaon, India)
  • Year: 2015
  • Author: Farhad Sorabjee
  • Directed by: Chris White
  • Composer : Ansuman Biswas
  • Lighting Design by: Cis O'Boyle (with Hidayat Sami for India)
  • Sound Design by: Marcus Christensen (with Gautam Dhanu for India)
  • Costume Design by: Paul Burgess
  • Set designed by: Paul Burgess (with Dhanendra Kawade for India)
Cast: Jasmina Daniel, Shernaz Patel, Nabil Stuart This production had two main scenographic challenges: how initially to create a border in a desert (a fictional location inspired by the Golan Heights) and then how to transform this from naturalism to something suggesting a post-death experience. And it had one practical challenge: how to make it tour to some very different venues in India, from a small horseshoe space to large proscenium arch. The solution was a flexible strip, which could be extended across any size of stage (and be carried with the team on a plane on domestic flights in India). This was strewn with rubbish, which in the play's last minutes, as the line between life and death become blurred, floats upwards, free from gravity. The UK team created the first version of the show, then collaborated with a parallel Indian team to adapt it for Indian audiences and logistics.