Ayun Fedorcha, a Helen-Hayes nominated lighting designer who served as resident artist for two Washington companies, passed away after a long illness on September 28th. She was 53.
Fedorcha, who learned her craft in the University of Virginia at Charlottesville’s MFA program, served as resident lighting designer for Adventure Theatre and Teatro de la Luna for nearly twenty years. She also served as lighting designer for such companies as Folger Theatre, Spooky Action, Washington Shakespeare Company (now WSC Avant Bard), American Century Theater, Round House, and Actor’s Theatre of Washington.
She won a Helen Hayes nomination as outstanding lighting designer in 1997 for her work on GALA Hispanic Theatre’s La Chunga, and lit several other shows for them. She also designed lights for numerous college, opera, ballet, and community theater productions. The website “About the Artists” lists forty-eight lighting design credits in all for Fedorcha.
Many observers noted Fedorcha’s facility for creating naturalistic settings with her designs. “Ayun Fedorcha’s lighting design captures a feeling of the outdoors and sunlight dappled by shade trees,” DCTS’ Roz Lacy noted in a 2009 review of GALA’s The Best Judge, the King, and in reviewing Teatro de la Luna’s Love in the Open Air in 2007, Lacy noted “[l]ighting designer Ayun Fedorcha creates subtle lighting shifts from soft blues to daylight, warm yellows.”
In the Facebook memorial page, her colleagues are remembering her with respect and affection. “I can say with great certainty that she was one of the best lighting designers that a sound designer could ever hope for,” writes veteran sound artist Neil McFadden. “I can also say that she had an ability to take 6 clip-lights and 2 household rheostats and make art with it. Her talent was immeasurable.”
“It’s hard not to remember the ethereal glow of the dining room scene from One Shoe Off, the backstage shadows from The Dresser, or the searing heat (which damn near burnt down the old Round House, by the way) from Pantomime,” Joseph Musumeci recalls.
And Tom McCarthy also has an affectionate memory of that startling day at the old Montgomery County theater. “Ayun was…the only designer in my time at Round House to blow the main breaker to the building — by turning on every light we owned (and a few she borrowed) during Pantomime,” he writes. “Who knew how much electricity it took to make sand pretty?”
“I am a very warm and fuzzy lighting designer,” Fedorcha once said. “My goals include making beautifully lit productions, playing well with my co-designers, and making my directors happy.”
Further information on memorial services will be posted on an “In Memory of Ayun Fedorcha” Facebook page.
Information on Fedorcha’s life and passing was obtained, in part, from this Facebook posting by Debbie Grossman.