Saturday, May 21

Jessica Hung Han Yun: A Designer Who Shoots Fantastic Light | Stage

TOlater Jessica Hung Han YunIn her first professional job as a lighting designer, she seriously considered leaving the industry. It was Tosca at London’s King’s Head Theater in 2017. “I remember feeling like I hadn’t done this show justice, but I couldn’t understand why. At the time, I didn’t have confidence in myself, so I didn’t trust my ideas. I wanted to try things, but I was too scared to try them, so I opted for a safer option. “

That taught him an important lesson: “be brave in the way you design and the way you approach work.” If you fail, he adds, there is always another way to approach enlightenment. “People always think of failure as a negative thing. It is not, it is also positive because you learn from it ”. Since that time, Hung Han Yun has endeavored to take risks. At 27 years old, he has already gained great recognition for the imagination and beauty of his designs.

Zachary Hing and Gabby Wong in Pah-La at the Royal Court in 2019.
Zachary Hing and Gabby Wong in Pah-La at the Royal Court in 2019. Photograph: Tristram Kenton / The Guardian

He discovered his love for enlightenment accidentally at Essex school. “I decided to take Drama from GSCE because I thought it would be easy to pass and I was not good at other subjects. So I did it and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m really stage frightened and can’t act!’ ”.

It was when a school technician, Pete, suggested that he test the sound or lighting that he felt an instant click: “I thought ‘Wow, this is so much fun.’ I felt like I was painting with light. Until then, I had thought of lighting as functional. I didn’t think I could tell a story or evoke so much emotion. Pete really taught me to appreciate him. “

He went on to Rose Bruford College and graduated with a lighting design degree in 2014, followed by a couple of years working in retail and then traveling before taking his passion seriously. Hung Han Yun, of Mauritian Chinese descent, grew up in Essex, where his father worked two jobs, seven days a week, while his mother raised four children. She was not taken to the theater as a child and she had no shortcuts in the industry.

Blindness in the Donmar Warehouse.
Blindness in the Donmar Warehouse. Photography: Helen Maybanks

“I applied for art work every day. It was difficult getting into the industry because I wasn’t sure who to contact or how to let people know I was there. Then I did a show called Nine Foot Nine at the Bunker Theater and it grew like a snowball. He went to Edinburgh and at the same time I did an immersive circus piece at The Vaults. “

Standing out quickly, she worked on some of the most daring and politically charged shows of recent years, including Fairview, Pah-La, and Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner. He draws inspiration from films and installation artists like James Turrell and Olafur Eliasson, but his starting point is always his own emotional response to the script.

Amy Booth-Steel in Dick Whittington at the National Theater.
Amy Booth-Steel in Dick Whittington at the National Theater. Photograph: Tristram Kenton / The Guardian

The pandemic temporarily halted Hung Han Yun’s work and also generated anxiety about how to survive. She struggled to pay the rent, obtained universal credit, and began to calculate how long her savings would last until she was forced to take a temporary job in another field. He was then asked to work on Blindness at the Donmar Warehouse, possibly the most successful production of the pandemic, which was both a sound and light installation and a play. “I was very grateful to work and I pushed myself because I wanted to do it for everyone in the industry, to show that we could come back and come back stronger.”

Most recently, he designed the lighting for the Orange Tree show Inside, broadcast live from the venue in conditions of social distancing. It’s amazing to be back, he says, and it has reminded him how much he loves the collaboration and camaraderie of it all.

Later this year, she will be working on Anna X, a Joseph Charlton play starring Emma Corrin, which will be performed as part of the Re: Emerge season in the West End. “I am very excited with the creative team and the narrative of the story. If I read something and think ‘I don’t know how you would stage it,’ it’s like a mystery and I want to find out more, explore it and see what I can do. “

From CV

Ira Mandela Siobhan and Ethan Kai at Equus, Theater Royal Stratford East, 2019.
Ira Mandela Siobhan and Ethan Kai at Equus, Theater Royal Stratford East, 2019. Photograph: Richard Davenport / The Other Richard

2021: Interior, Orange Tree Theater, London

2021: The Band Keep Playing, Sheffield Crucible

2020: Dick Whittington, National Theater, London

2020: Blindness, Donmar Warehouse, London

2019: Fairview, Young Vic, London

2019: Equus, Royal Stratford East Theater, London

2019: Seven Methods to Kill Kylie Jenner, Royal Court, London

2019: Dear Elizabeth, Gate Theater, London

2019: Pah-La, Royal Court, London

2018: Hive City Legacy, Roundhouse, London

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