A Poster about Love and Capitalism.
The Lyric Theatre, also known as the Lyric Hammersmith, is a theatre on Lyric Square, in Hammersmith, London. Billed as the civic and creative heart of West London, the organisation believes that everyone deserves to experience the life-changing impact of theatre.
In support of a new production of The Good Person of Szechwan I was asked to design a new poster for the show and materials for the wider campaign.
The Good Person of Szechwan follows Shen Te, a sex-worker struggling to get by. When three gods reward her hospitality with a life-changing sum of money, Shen Te finds the stability she’s always dreamed of. But the struggle is not over yet. Forced to question the cost of her own survival, she resorts to scheming and deceit to flourish in this capitalist world.
In its 80th anniversary, Brecht’s play is brought up to date in this new version by Nina Segal, directed by Anthony Lau.
Artwork & production
Off to a Good Start.
The brief called for creative that was fun, edgy and modern. It needed to clearly position the production as a comedy, but communicate the themes of capitalism, morality and fortune.
I began with designing a title treatment that utilised the Lyric Hammersmith’s brand typeface, but incorporated a graphic element of a halo. This title treatment was used for the teaser campaign while the show was in production.
The vibrant pink used across the teasers informed the subsequent design phase.
Visual references supplied by the client included examples of Chinese culture, arcades, games, and pop-culture ephemera. This helped to establish style and tone for the initial concepts.
The marketing team was keen to pursue the idea of the ‘cash booth’. Also known as a money booth, money machine, and cash cube, is an arcade game and merchandiser in the form of a phone booth in which paper money (or, alternatively, coupons, tickets, or gift certificates) are blown through the air. A participant inside the booth then has to grab as many banknotes as possible in a limited amount of time.
This concept connected to the themes of the play, and captured the energy of the production. It felt modern and accessible, but we could play with the composition to convey both the sense of fortune, but also of being lost and overwhelmed.
Following approval of the creative direction, we worked with the Lyric marketing department and photographer Jennifer McCord on the shoot. The idea was to create a cash booth for the poster, using prop money and fans to create a visual of swirling cash around the actress playing Shen Te.
The Lyric constructed the set based on styling cues from the production, and sourced prop bank notes. I joined the shoot on the day to provide art direction.
Following the shoot, the main shot was approved for all subsequent formats. I retouched the photo and augmented the falling cash in the frame, adding additional digital bank notes to the scene.
From the key art, I created adaptations across print, digital, social, internal and external applications.