What makes the best …. Lighting Designer?

What Makes The Best Lighting Designer
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This series of opinion pieces about theatre personnel is reprinted with the kind permission of The Lovers, The Dreamers and You. The Lovers, the Dreamers and You consists of some very creative minds. They create a Podcast about passion, inspiration, loving what you do & following your dreams. Read their blog & download their podcast. They can be followed on twitter at @LoversDreamersU
Seriously? What does make the best Lighting Designer? I don’t know, exactly… even though I may have tried my hand at some Lighting Design, I still don’t know what makes the BEST Lighting Designer because this can be a really elusive section of the entire design process – and yet, so VERY integral.
For example, when great stage design ends, great lighting design should take over. Lighting can create and add so much to every production. Lighting, in theatre is the CGI of live entertainment. That sounds like a really loaded statement, and it is… but it is also true. Ask any really experienced Lighting Designer if the theatre they are working in has enough equipment and they’ll tell you – “there’s never enough equipment”. Another lamp, another dimmer pack, a hazer… there’s always room for more and it will give you more – almost exponentially more, especially in the hands of a pro-lighting designer. More than CGI would, I wager.
A pro will read the script. And read it again, and again, and probably again. Their medium is very, very visual and ephemerally so… Mood, sense, time, place – lighting design will give you all of these things. Lighting can scare you, inspire you or feel barely noticeable at all, but it will totally affect your sense of appreciation of the production! Totally!
Once they’ve read it… they’ll probably make a few strong decisions and then come to the director for some vision. Lighting Designers know how to interpret the strange language that Directors speak and they’ll translate that into colour and make it fit with the palate of the Stage Designer and the Costume Designer and they’ll use their skills and talents to make other people’s work look extra good.
They will also spend countless hours above the stage with heavy objects arranging them to face in just the right area with just the right colour and texture to create some ephemeral existence for us to enjoy. And then… they’ll go home, very, very, very late at night. They create entirely in the dark and they disappear once the work is done. Often, if you notice their work… they are sad that attention was brought away from the action on stage. But for me.. the beauty of light is something worth noting. I certainly take time to note it. Do you? Take note at your next production. I think it’s worth it.
What makes the best …
Ceris Thomas is a creative person. She teaches by day – and finds as much creativity in her job as she can and by night, (and during every spare minute she has), she creates through directing/choreographing and performing plays, drawing, writing, podcasting and now, sewing puppets.
She likes to help others find and nurture their creativity and she loves finding out about other people’s path to their own creative projects. The Lovers, The Dreamers and You can be followed on twitter at@LoversDreamersU