A gentle, warm wash of light will be designed and hung for the purpose of lighting the general playing area for the parts of the show where I am wandering around talking, interacting with the audience, etc.  Scene specific lighting however, will also have to be built into the pack (by pack, I mean the set, props, etc that travels every day and gets set up and torn down for each show, in each location). Some scenes will only be played out in a very small segment of the stage and so, I’ll only want that area lit.  Other scenes may require a specific look, feel and/or colour. I’ll give you an example of a scene where I have pretty much decided on what I want and how I’ll create that look.

I will be acting a scene about the Battle for Vimy Ridge.  My intention for this scene is to be sitting on a dimly lit stage with three actual letters from or about the reality of John Henry Anderson, a soldier on Vimy in 1917.  I found these letters, and many more at a site called, The Canadian Letters and Images Project.  Two of the letters are from John to his Ma and the other is from a battalion mate to John’s Mother after John’s death. For my purposes, I want to create a stark, somber feeling, to say the least. Dim, open white light works well for this as of course do cold blues. Either way, between letters two and three, there will be a short burst of the sights and sounds of battle. Loud audio with explosions of light.

To create bright flashes without having to carry around lengths of unwieldy, groundrow strip lights and strobe lights, I will be using a relatively new product (available from Lee Valley tools .  It is an LED tape lighting system.  The tape, which measures about a quarter of an inch wide, comes in 8ft lengths and has either 9 or 18 lights per foot. This tape will be installed in a grove in two eight foot 1”x4” boards hinged at center. I will lay them out at the extreme upstage, along the base of the video screen and painted black, they will be all but invisible until lit.  Another strip of this tape will be run along the top frame of the screen, facing the audience. When flashed, they will create very bright, explosions of light. Once turned off, they again become nearly invisible. This tape comes in white lights or in RGB strips.  From the RGB tape, (red, green, blue) I can produce white but I can also combine the colours to build any other hue that I want so, the RGB tape it will be.

At the end of the show, the two boards, containing the tape will be folded over each other, protecting the tape and they will slip effortless into a small space in the travel van. Lighting effect created, storage situation solved.

FYI, I will be bringing in a lighting designer at a later date to do the complete actual design, this is just an example.  I don’t pretend to have all the answers and besides, it is always good to let others come up with ideas I may have overlooked.

 


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