Stage lighting can make or break a theatre production. Here are some tips I’ve learned that will help you utilize your stage lighting system:
The audience must be able to see the action on stage. This is the basic objective for a stage lighting system. All the colors and shades in the world won’t help if the audience can’t see what they need to see on stage.
You must use the lighting system to portray the style of the scene. Is it realistic? Surreal? A flashback? Use the lighting to create the style that you need for the scene. This will help the audience know what world the scene is taking place in.
Figure out what the audience needs to focus on in the scene and highlight it with the lighting system. Which actor is the moment focused on? What object needs to be scene? This allows you to collaborate with the director to illuminate their vision for the scene. No pun intended.
Use colors to create the feel of the scene. Certain colors put people in different moods. A sad scene calls for more blue. Yellow will put the audience in a happy atmosphere. You can also use colors to indicate the weather and psychological mind set.
The position of the lights greatly affects how the objects will be lit in your lighting system. You must be aware of the position in order to balance out shadows created on the actor’s face or anywhere else on the set. Unless you want a shadow for an effect, collaborate with the set designer to see how reflective the objects or stage floor will be. The proper use of lighting position can create great depth on an actor’s face or an object on stage.
A lighting designer is key artist in the production. Read the script, be aware of the director’s vision, and collaborate with everyone to enhance the story through your lighting choices. Play with light movement (if you have the right equipment) and the angles of the lights. See which lighting-effects complement the production. You won’t know what choice might work until you try it.