Reflections

As I am still learning a lot about light design, after the chaos of tech week is over, it is important for me to continuously evaluate my work, identifying places for growth and thinking about the skills I have gained or improved. Below you may find some explanation on my concepts for each show, and my critiques on their effectiveness.

The Bald Soprano
While I am not completely happy with the final product, I am proud of how much I accomplished within a very limited time frame, and I definitely learned a lot throughout the process. In particular, I learned how to design with constraints–with limited instruments, circuits, and time–and I also improved my drafting skills, working with viewports for the first time. Although this show was not my first encounter with absurdist theater (The Maids), it was the first time I had thought deeply about how to design for this kind of play.

Light, of course, plays a key role in defining theatrical spaces, and I was especially drawn to the idea of using light to create claustrophobic spaces. In the set design, the walls of the black box became the walls of the house, to create the sense that the audience, by entering the theater, was also “stuck” in this space. A big part of defining the space came from the striplights on the floor. When turned on, they expanded the space by illuminating the back wall, which is otherwise dark, but the uplighting creates a sense of unease when the space is expanded. After the inconvenience they caused me, I’m very pleased by how they turned out! I also tried to create a very contained rectangular light during the scene where the Martins “meet” each other to give the sense that they are nervously stuck in the same box, but unfortunately I couldn’t make the rectangular shape very distinct without sacrificing visibility. Perhaps with more instruments with smaller angles I could have made this work, but it was not the best idea for the space.

Another idea I had was using really weird angles of light or placing lights in unusual locations. I couldn’t do this nearly as much as I wanted to, due to a limited number of circuits, so my main effort at “weird” lights were the two booms. I don’t think they were nearly as effective as I wanted them to be, since they were not super distinct from the overhead lighting, but they did provide some accents in certain moments. The four backlights I had were also not super distinct from the general lighting. I’m not sure exactly how to fix these problems, but I think I need to think more carefully about how to design in this location, with its low grid and inventory of lights with fairly large throws. There needs to be more focus/precision in the looks.

I did have some template washes, but I wish I had played more with texture for this show. Again, the templates I used seemed to be washed out by the other lights in the space. Unless everything else was completely dark, it didn’t seem to much of an effect. I also wish I had thought of something more clever to do with the clock!

Finally, I wish I had taken the time to mask the hanging cables, because they are pretty distracting.

In terms things I think I did well, I was mostly happy with the striplights, as I mentioned before. I’m also happy with my use of color. In retrospect, I chose a very similar color scheme as The Maids, using a turquoise rather than a blue, but I think the simplicity of these colors worked very well, and I was very much enamored with the turquoise, which seemed to give the perfect feeling for this show. I frequently used very long cues to either add a lot of saturated color or change the color (e.g. when characters told very long stories). I liked the idea of having the change be so obvious you had to notice it, but you weren’t necessarily sure when things started to shift.