Sweeney Todd

Northwestern University

Josephine Lious Theatre
Evanston, IL
October 31st, 2008

Design Team

  • Director: George Cederquist
  • Lighting Design: Lee Fiskness
  • Set Design: Robert Shoquist
  • Costume Design: Izumi Inaba

Photography By: Lee Fiskness

Production Photos

Design Statement


In George Cederquist’s production of Sweeney Todd, people come together obsessed with the need to tell the story of the infamous man Sweeney Todd.  Guided by their obsession the chorus embodies the characters surrounding Mr. Todd.  Utilizing the structure of a cold sterile storage facility as a framework, the drama unfolds as the characters come to life.  The lighting moves through the piece revealing moments of narration, fantasy, obsession, and humor.

The overall feeling of the lighting consists of cold white light that pierces across the stage from sharp and dramatic angles.  Low angles sculpt the characters and give a crisp edgy appearance while simultaneously etching out shadows that bounce off the walls around them. Chiaroscuro pushes the characters out from the background while creating dark corners where others can observe the action.


Light invades the space through every possible opening: doors, windows, cracks, and a ventilation fan, allowing for depth in the space as well as revealing the energy and movement beyond the visible room. Shadows pass by these openings throwing long deep shadows across the space, generating mystery and suspense. 

In moments of personal fantasies or memories the lighting mimics the emotional state of the storytellers pushing the saturation of color, as the fantasies become more intense the lighting becomes more dramatic with greater intensity and deeper colors.