UC San Diego
Lighting Design: Editing and Painting Space with Lights
- Author(s): Ko, Gwikyoung
- Advisor(s): Burrett, Alan
- et al.
Theatre is an intimate, live performance in which the audience is able to hear even the sound of actors breathing on stage. The purpose of my lighting design is not to deliver information about the world of the play through visually impactful lighting but to bring out the actors and capture the moments of the space as a whole with other elements including set, costumes and sound.
In space, lighting becomes the storyteller and guide for the audience¬. Theatre starts in an empty space. In such fixed space, the creative team searches and implements its limitless potential. They turn the empty space into the past, paint the make-believe
world, and imagine the future. In this creative process, lighting edits the space and time to depict the world that the creative team wants to generate. Additionally, lighting becomes the guide, which helps the audience to follow the story through time and space. Depending on the quality of the design, lighting can make the audience linger in this empty space called theatre.
Painting in lighting does not merely mean painting the stage with vibrant colors. It also means painting various expressions of the stage and actors by setting the direction of lighting. For example, in Three Women in Four Chairs, the sunset – which symbolizes both the beginning and the end of the play – was painted with not only vivid and natural colors of the sunset but also with deep shadows to maximize the feeling of void that the characters felt at the end of their day. Furthermore, lighting creates myriad colors. By changing the intensity of the lights, colors can change. However, I believe that any use of direction and color in lighting must be justified well. One mush use colors that are closely related to the world of the play and visually communicate the image of the play. In addition, darkness is also a part of lighting. While visibility is one of the fundamentals of lighting, darkness, silhouette, and shadows are all part of the image that is painted from lighting. Among many other ways, shadows and silhouettes can exaggerate the shadow of stage and emphasize the movement of the actors, creating various images on stage.
Lighting is one of the last elements, which is added in creating the live content of theatre. It is also lighting that completes the whole picture and breaths the life into the fruit of countless communication of many creative collaborators.