Definition July 2021 - Web

ANATOMY OF A DRAMA DOP Alicia Robbins discusses the challenges of working on a show that dramatised the Covid-19 crisis, as it proliferated in the real world WORDS CHELSEA FEARNLEY / P I CTURES EMMANUEL BATES COMMUN I CAT I ONS L ast summer, staff members at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital were in the turbulent early stages of the pandemic. They were taking Covid-19 cases only, with the rarest of exceptions, and the days had turned into a lengthy hunt for PPE – one enormous nightmare of new, stringent safety measures. It GREY ’ S ANATOMY | PRODUCTION

would have been unusual and against the grain for a melodrama like Grey’s Anatomy to avoid depicting the current crisis completely, but it certainly jumps into the thick of it. “Madhouse. On fire,” is Dr Bailey’s succinct reaction. Incorporating the pandemic into Season 17 of the show brought big complications to the set. Provoking images of Monsters, Inc. , and the CDA monsters whose job it was to search and take away any human contaminant, actors had to wear an unsightly combination of powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR), masks and shields. But the PAPR – a loose-fitting helmet with a clear screen – presented the biggest challenge for DOP Alicia Robbins, because even though the actors’ mouths were visible, the screen drew “crazy reflections” from lighting. “Chandra Wilson, who plays Dr Miranda Bailey, seemed to attract the most reflections,” says Robbins. “She’s

JULY 202 1 | DEF I N I T ION 13

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