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Hampstead Theatre

Ravens: Spassky vs Fischer


A play by Tom Morton-Smith, directed by Annabelle Comyn.

Designer - Jamie Vartan
Video Designer - Jack Phelan
Composer & Sound Designer - Philip Stewart
Lighting Designer - Howard Harrison

Featuring Robert Emms as Bobby Fischer and Ronan Raftery as Boris Spassky. Full cast and crew here.

Part of Hampsted Theatre’s winter 2019 / 2020 season on the main stage. 

For this production I developed a palette of textures, lines and washed out flat colours influenced by the media of the 1970s - in particular the way most television at the time, and into the 80s actually originated as 16mm film. As a result, television programming displayed a combination of the visual artefacts of both film (grain, flicker, gate weave, photochemical milkiness etc.) and television (interference, pixelation, glow, moire etc.).

Lines and Grids

One of the visual themes director Annabelle wanted to explore was that of lines and grids - referencing chess boards, games, war strategy, radio wave etc. I got really interested in animated PSAs (public service announcements) produced in the US during the Cold War. Many of them quite beautifully made and made heavy use of animated lines to dipict things like radiation, electricty, motion etc. e.g. Disney’s Our Friend, The Atom from 1957. I developed a process for producing complex animated line patterns with a hand-drawn feel with a combination of hand-drawn lines using custom brushes in Procreate. Individual lines were then brought into Blender and used as particles in a flat particle system. These were rendered out with transparency for laying over other image sequences.