How would the designer approach the process of arriving at a lighting concept which will both define a time and place while also effectively communicating the emotional drama playing out on the stage?
(2016) How would the designer approach the process of arriving at a lighting concept which will both define a time and place while also effectively communicating the emotional drama playing out on the stage?, no. 35.
Critics, dramaturges and fans praise Tennessee Williams' universal themes, incredible playwriting and poetic language. Productions of his plays tend to be simple because his written word does not need anything much more complex than to be simply spoken. However, in the 21st century when theatre technology is at its most advanced, the question arises; do his plays need to be set so simplistic? More specific, do they need to be lit only realistically, 'warm', yellow lighting? Could lighting design portray the time and place of Williams' writing as well as being reflective of the text and all the emotion it entails? This dissertation uses Williams' play 'Suddenly Last Summer', as subject matter in investigating how a lighting designer could define a time and place whilst simultaneously communicating the plays emotional drama. The project uses a practical investigation, discovering the history and logistics of lighting design and how to incorporate both elements in to a lighting design, find Adolphe Appia's use of gauzes and 'diffused' lighting to be the key influence. The project is done theoretically and hypothetically, the plans are not designed for a specific theatre. The researcher aims to learn how a lighting designer would approach this process, learning about the physicality's of lighting design and all about colour theory, before being able to apply them to an actual theatre. The process is documented from uninformed designs that were overly complicated and lacked any meaning or motivation, to the final product where research of lighting style and use of coloured lighting, is applied to the designs. The plans go from brightly coloured washes of light, constantly changing over the acting area, to a more justified and watchable design, where coloured lighting on a gauze communicates the emotional drama and 'natural' lighting portrays the time and place.