HEROES OF THE FOURTH TURNING
by Will Arbery is directed by Danya Taymor, at Playwrights Horizons on the Main Stage, through November 10th.
The New Yorker - October 21, 2019 issue, by Vinson Cunningham
“As the party rambles on and the guests flit in and out of the house, a warm, yellow stream of light comes from the door, heightening the drama of shadow and light. Everybody’s face is half lit. (Isabella Byrd offers a masterpiece of lighting design, rich with portent and glinting significance.) People step out of shadows, having heard things not meant for their ears. Hopper becomes Caravaggio, and “Heroes,” a formally lovely, subtly horrifying play about the death rattle of ideologies and the thin line between devotion and delusion, echoes the interplay between those two painters of profound psychological depth. Each of the characters is in some ways terribly alone, like Hopper’s city zombies, vacant about the eyes, but each one’s heart, poked into flame by conversation, is, like the doubting disciple in Caravaggio’s “The Incredulity of Saint Thomas,” reaching out for something solid to match the intensity of his or her hopes and ideas.”
”To catch the nuances in their differences—and to imagine what these nuances might mean for the future of people like these, and therefore for the future of our country—is a bit like the corneal adjustment required in the first moment of the play: you’ve got to distinguish dark from dark, and perceive a thousand darknesses in between.”
New York Magazine // Vulture, by Sara Holdren
“It has us leaning forward from the first moment, doubly so because Isabella Byrd’s lighting design is wonderfully dark. An asymmetrical cone of back porch light is all the characters have to work in — when they venture out into the reaches of Justin’s backyard, they dissolve into shadow. Even in the light, you’ve got to strain a little to see them. It’s naturalism that’s also something more: Darkness does surround these people, and their efforts to dig their heels in and hold onto what they’ve been taught is the light only makes the shadows thicken. “I feel like a disease, Dr. Presson,” admits the untethered Kevin, drunk enough to swerve into dangerous territory, somehow both fundamentally innocent and blindly self-pitying in his confession. But if nothing else, honest about the darkness.”
MLIMA’S TALE by Lynn Nottage, in its second premiere production opened October 5th at Westport Country Playhouse. Performances continues through October 19th.
The 2019 Henry Hewes Awards announced a handsome batch of nominations. The lighting design for PLANO and “DADDY” A Melodrama were honored with nominations. Huzzah!
Emily Stamets’s podcast Find Your Light episode 22 features a discussion about the San Diego production of The Tale of Despereaux, process, and much more.
in 1: the lives of theatrical designers, hosted by Cory Pattak, features an extended conversation with Isabella about all sorts of career and industry stuff.
On May 20th the 2019 OBIE AWARDS honored the Lighting Design for Light Shining in Buckinghamshire.
PETER PAN will be a part of the 19/20 season at Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC, directed by Alan Paul.
MORE ON THE HORIZON… 2020
RECENTLY IN 2019:
NOISES OFF played at the Cape Playhouse to finish out the summer. Directed by Jeffry Denman, and starred Jen Cody and SNL’s Heidi Gardner.
PigPen Theatre Company presented the world premiere of THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX at The Old Globe, directed by PigPen and Marc Bruni. (Created with Lydia Fine and Nick Lehane, and choreography by Jennifer Jancuska.)
TELL ME I’M NOT CRAZY took the Nikos stage at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Written by Sharyn Rothstein and directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel.
Manhattan Theatre Club presented Bess Wohl's CONTINUITY, a play in six takes. It was directed by Tony winner Rachel Chavkin, on MTC’s Stage II.
“What’s so brave and so harrowing about Wohl’s project is that it is unsparing with itself: It questions not only art’s utility in the face of something as massive and dire as the warming of the planet, but also the very ethics of its existence.“ Sara Holdren, Vulture
ClubbedThumb remounted PLANO, by Will Arbery and directed by Taylor Reynolds. At the Connelly Theater… ”Tonight, and later, and earlier, three sisters (no, not those ones) are stricken with a series of strange plagues. Let’s talk about family nightmares. I mean, uh, memories."
“Director Taylor Reynolds presides over a production that does Arbery proud: Daniel Zimmerman’s set looks normal, but the more you look at the simple wooden house in Isabella Byrd's slanting light, the more you mistrust its geometries.'“ Helen Shaw, TimeOut New York
“With its mysterious plagues and its slug infestations, its multiplying men and its cornered, fighting women, its sense that the drab, weird, grossly unfair universe is always on the edge of an apocalypse that never comes, Plano is a fiercely smart contemporary dream play — to paraphrase Ursula Le Guin, a ‘realism of a larger reality.’ “ Sara Holdren, Vulture NYMag
DADDY, by Jeremy O. Harris, directed by Danya Taymor. DADDY starred Ronald Peet and Alan Cumming. A co-production with The Vineyard Theatre and The New Group, staged on the Linney Theatre at Signature Theatre Center, pool side.
“… whenever the ensemble members are in the pool, which has been lighted like a movie star by Isabella Byrd… Were there an award for best supporting body of water in a play, this highly expressive pool would be a shoo-in.” - NYTimes
“Matt Saunders’ pulsating blue pool dominates the set … Adding to this visual effect is Isabella Byrd’s exquisite lighting that reflects not only the mood, but the inner feelings of the play.” TmSqChronicle
“Some breathtaking design work has gone into the sleek production of Jeremy O. Harris’ ‘Daddy,’ … Lighting designer Isabella Byrd has washed the entire scene in luscious shades of sun-washed blue.” Variety
A.C.T. (American Conservatory Theater) in San Francisco, produced SEASCAPE by Edward Albee, directed by Pam MacKinnon, with Set and Costume by David Zinn.
“The brilliant set design by David Zinn …. is enhanced by Isabella Byrds’s skill in capturing that rare light of the Atlantic sea coast.” - 48Hills.com
The lighting design for The Light Shining in Buckinghamshire was honored with a nomination by the 2018 Henry Hewes Awards.
Find a full list of the 2018 nominees in Lighting&Sound America. The awards are hosted by the American Theatre Wing.
Marymount Manhattan College presented the Fall Dance Rep, New works by Earl Mosley, Gabrielle Lamb, Pedro Ruiz, Nancy Lushington, Katie Langan, and Catherine Cabeen.
THE THANKSGIVING PLAY | Playwrights Horizons
By Larissa FastHorse, and directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
ORLANDO | Fordham University
By Sarah Ruhl, directed by Ashley Brooke Monroe.
SUCH THINGS AS VAMPIRES | People's Light presented the devised punk-folk rock Dracula inoculation , directed by Stuart Carden.
MEMBER OF THE WEDDING | Williamstown Theatre Festival
Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, starring Roslyn Ruff and Tavi Gevinson.
ARTNEY JACKSON | Williamstown Theatre Festival
by James Anthony Tyler, on the Nikos Stage, directed by Laura Savia.
The original production of PLANO at ClubbedThumb by Will Arbery, directed by Taylor Reynolds at The Wild Project.
THE LIGHTING SHINING IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE | New York Theatre Workshop, by Caryl Churchill, directed by Rachel Chavkin
42ND HUMANA FESTIVAL OF NEW AMERICAN PLAYS, Bingham Stage | Actors Theatre of Louisville, 3 plays in rep and in the round: GOD SAID THIS, DO YOU FEEL ANGER, and YOU ACROSS FROM ME.
March 2018 concluded a collaboration with director, Noah Baumbach, production designer Jade Healy, and DP Robbie Ryan on Noah's new untitled film.