LUCY SILVER reviews ‘Shooting with Light’ at the New Diorama Theatre.

Idle Motion present Shooting With Light at the New Diorama Theatre

‘Shooting with Light’ explores the life of Gerda Taro, the first female photojournalist to die in action during her coverage of the Spanish Civil War. It also follows the development of her relationship with fellow photojournalist Robert Capa.

The two meet while in Paris when the Hungarian-born Capa, nee Andre Friedman, initially comes across Taro when he asks to use her friend as a model for one of his commissions. Following this meeting, Gerda and Andre embark on their romance as she helps him reinvent himself as a photographer and he, in turn, teaches her the art of photography. After initially publishing work under his name, Taro gains a reputation in her own right, causing tensions in their relationship as she takes steps to free herself from his shadow and he comes to terms with her obsession for her work. In this way, ‘Shooting with Light’ explores the shifting power dynamics between two talented artists who must individually overcome societal prejudices in order to succeed in their expressive forms.

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The main storyline is complemented by the subplot that follows Capa’s brother Cornell and his female assistant as they search for what they believe is a lost body of Capa’s work. However, rather than retrieving Capa, the case of films they uncover were taken by Taro, thus bringing both her work and the deep significance of their relationship to light.

Their intense and passionate relationship is retold through intimate conversations and scenes of impressively athletic physical theatre. Although the use of physical theatre in the unfolding romance is slightly excessive, this element of the production works especially well as a means to convey the horrors of war as well as Taro’s dangerous commitment to her reporting. The staging and scenery is stylish and effective throughout and leads to moments of beauty and a highly evocative piece overall.

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Images credited to Richard Davenport.