Saverio Truglia Shoots Steppenwolf Theatre's Lord of the Flies

By Barbara Goldman

Last month reported on a personal photo project  that was a light version of  the classic William Golding novel, Lord of the Flies.  This month we present another darker version of the novel photographed by Saverio Truglia.  Truglia is an award-winning Chicago-based advertising and editorial photographer who has produced numerous campaigns for some of the most celebrated brands, agencies and stage companies.  As in the theater, his photography presents arcs in the lives of uncommon people–spotlighting their psychological paths. His work has been published in photo annuals including Communication Arts and PDN, and he has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the APA Best in Show. Truglia works with both traditional and digital techniques and his pictures tend to center on fellow humn beings who inhabit a world full of absurdities with deadpan humor in a unique and colorful way.  

Truglia has been shooting season advertising images for Steppenwolf Theatre for several years and has had the opportunity to direct greats like Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts and actors Amy Morton and Laurie Metcalf.  Recently he shot images for the the 2013-14 season for Steppenwolf that includes shots of the dark childhood drama, Lord of the Flies, which they will be producing.  A plane wreck strands a group of English boys on a deserted island during wartime. As they slowly explore their new-found freedom, what starts out as fun and games turns into a vicious battle for power when the boys split into two opposing tribes: one that strives for civility and another that delights in savage violence. The competition escalates into a dangerous, frightening climax, as this thrilling classic looks into the darker parts of human nature.  Civilization vs. savagery and the mob vs. morality. 

"Director of Marketing and Communications John Zinn insisted we depict this well-known story in a fresh way, avoiding the pitfall of shooting a pig head on a stick: the principle image so often used on book jackets," says Truglia.  Instead,  the concept was to go back, back, back – before the story even begins – to create their own Lord of the Flies image.   “In the theatre, we always start with the script, and from there find our inspiration for a visual image with which to present it to the public.  It’s a hard job, representing a two-hour play with one fresh image, especially a well-known piece like Lord of the Flies,”explains Zinn.  

Truglia and Zinn chose to create a snapshot portrait of the schoolboys on the tarmac before their prop plane takes off and eventually crashes on an island. Truglia directed and shot five actors from the  stage production in studio using a commercial plane in the background and then composited individual portraits to create the scene. 

“Saverio is adept at taking words and stories and shaping them into emotional images.  He has the creativity and imagination to produce an inviting image, but he also knows how to collaborate well with us in order to achieve something that has fidelity to the play, and also feels like Steppenwolf. The process is always exciting, and the outcome compelling,” adds Zinn.   

You can see more of  Saverio Truglia’s compelling portraiture, conceptual work  and theater commissions at his site  Read more about this project and latest news at his blog.










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