Through my work on these three productions, I have explored lighting in different contexts which all had their successes. Despite the differences, the fundamental element of each of them was ensuring that the work serves the text or source stimulus, as this makes it work alongside the rest of the production.
This is especially important for productions where light is aiding like ‘Wait For Me’ as the ability to made adjustments is severely limited in the short creation period. By ensuring that I had an understanding of the story and emotional journey of the piece, my lighting design was able to work alongside the other elements with minimal issues in regard to helping communicate the story to the audience. This example did however have moments that were not as well executed due to poor design concept that could be resolved in the space and technical limitations being exaggerated by tight time constraints, which resulted in moments where the overall piece started to breakdown and subsequently negatively impact the audience experience. Therefore, the aiding approach is generally a poor choice for creating strong consistent communication of story and emotion, as while it can work, it doesn’t allow the possibility for flexibility, or depth in its contribution to a production.
This piece, therefore, provides the benchmark by which to compare the other projects in order to discover how lighting design can contribute to a process in a more significant way if there is more integration between the lighting and other production elements.
The process of developing ‘Boys Cry’ forced my work to respond to technical limitations that impacted the design. While this initially can seem damaging due to there being fewer options, it forced me to respond with a creative approach, and decide what I needed for the piece, rather than exploring endless possibilities. This meant that when working on the piece in venues, I was able to easily make decisions with lighting that prioritised what was most important for the piece. This approach ultimately meant that its ability to communicate story and emotion was strengthened. Therefore, this is an example of how a design has to fit the constraints of a production, but can still have a strong design that is faithful to the stimulus.
The production also clearly benefited from lighting being in the role of heightening, with lighting’s close relationship with sound, as the two elements worked together with the same creative intentions, and ultimately allowed us to communicate the story and emotional journey of the character to the audience more effectively. It was also an example of how lighting can help support performers and allow them to feel a supportive presence with them on stage.
My final project with Morgan explored a style of practice that I’d never applied to the production of a piece before. While it had a very different approach, the fundamental element of lighting design still applied as it was still rooted with a stimulus that all the production elements were responding to, and needed to draw from, in order to create a cohesive piece. However, the most significant success of this process was discovering how light can be used in a creation process to inform a performers’ process. While it is unrealistic to apply this to all processes, an awareness of this possibility places me in a better position to be more involved in a collaborative creation process, rather than just lighting other people’s work after it is created. This is ultimately a significant advantage to my design process as it allows my work to be incorporated and considered in a way that allows for my lighting to become more than something that is added onto a production. Instead, it allows me to contribute during the initial creation of a production to give my work more depth and other elements the ability to integrate my work.
An example of this is seen in the separation moment in ‘Wait For Me’. The single beam of light was one of the strongest dramaturgical moments of the piece as it was grounded in the reality of the world of the piece through the performer’s interaction with it therefore allowed the audience to draw more from the performance. This moment came from the writer but, had the lighting been more involved in the development process, my focus on lighting may have allowed more of these moments to occur. For example, if the angels were aware of the gobo washes being representative of them in a scene, they could also have been more integrated into the world rather than just a visual shift. It may be naïve to think that lighting can always be used to inform performers’ processes, but in a space that relies on collaboration, it should always be a welcomed and encouraged element in any creative process where time and resources allow.
Looking at the practice of lighting design, and a designer’s process, another thing I realised through this project, was that, while lighting design is ultimately about serving the piece, a significant part of this involves being able to adapt in order to make this happen. In these three productions, while not being perfect, lighting is successful in communicating the story and emotions to the audience. However, the different processes would not have been interchangeable between projects and I adapted my practice for each one. It was not possible for me to work with the composer to integrate the light and sound together for ‘Wait For Me’ as I did with ‘Boys Cry’ because the music was locked so that the show could be choreographed before I was involved. I did not have the facilities to introduce lighting into the rehearsal for ‘Boys Cry’ to help the performer explore the physicality of light in his process as we did when we restaged the show. My piece with Morgan simply would not have existed in the same capacity had I relied on her creating something herself for me to then apply light to.
Therefore, light needs to be adaptive in its approach in order to best communicate a story to an audience, and should seek to support a production process whenever possible.
Lighting design needs to be led by intention and adapt to the context of the piece it is serving, being aware of any possibilities to work in collaboration with other departments to help all the production elements to produce the best quality work.
WAIT FOR ME
Concept and Composer:
Costume, Choreographer & Director:
Collin's Music Hall
Chris Hepburn & Ruth Saunders
'Wait for Me' shared with permission for educational use by Shawthing Productions.
Production photos are stills from final production.
Rehearsal recordings by Dean Anthony Lee.
Show synopsis by Theatre Weekly.
BTS Photo, and edits by me.
Omnibus Theatre &
Writer & Performer:
Technical Stage Manager:
Production Shared with permission of writer & director for educational purposes.
Production photos, video edits & Lighting plans by me.
Sample of script copyright of Christian Graham.
With thanks to POSK Polish Centre Hammersmith for access to venue.
Permission to use writing granted by writer.
Past research project video and image previously submitted for MALIP701 module and featured here for reference only.
Voices recording provided by Morgan Ashley.
Recordings, edits &
Production photos by me.
Movement Director & Performer:
Lighting Designer & Operator:
Dramaturg & 2nd Operator:
MALIP704: Final Project - MATTHEW CARNAZZA - 1602877