After today’s rehearsal for In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, Zanna, the light designer, started running up and down a ladder focusing the lights for the show. As I watched she made me smile. She was putting gels in all of the lights.
It sounds like a small thing, but in my years as artistic director, my biggest complaint has been light designers believing that an un-gelled light is a color. It is not.
I have lit my share of rock-n-roll shows. That color may be too much for theater (except a musical), but no gel is still not a color. Even no-color straw is better. I have also lit may share of theater productions. It is the use of color that makes those hours of hanging and focusing worthwhile.
What happens is when we see light, any natural light, sun light, fire light, even incandescent bulbs they all have color. Ofter very warm, on the yellow side of white. In Seattle, and Burien, the color, in the winter, is often grey, but even the gray has blue in it.
A theater lighting instrument’s un-gelled light is too white; and LED is too blue when set to white. (A five color LED will add yellow to the white LED to make a white that looks right.)
This is setting aside the ability of a good light designer to change the mood of a scene with subtle use of blues, greens, reds and other colors. It is the use of color that makes theater lighting an art. No color is just keeping people out of the dark.
Come see In the Next Room, or the vibrator play – TICKETS – and see Zanna’s use of color. It looks great!