At last. The second edition of the book that we in the
theatrical lighting world have been waiting for has
arrived. This new, greatly expanded edition includes
a wealth of additional information, stepping through
the design process from the beginning (contracts,
budgets, bids, production schedules), through devel-
opment of the plot and tech rehearsal, and on to the
end (archiving). It includes helpful discussions of such
disparate topics as what to do about transport, how
to approach meetings, or how to cope with changes
during load-in or tech. Whether you are a lighting
designer on Broadway, off Broadway, in LORT the-
aters, for small or large dance companies who tour or
give one time performances, or for any kind of theat-
rical venture, you will find a way to get a handle on
your lighting process, both the craft and the design,
in this book.
It is totally comprehensive and written in such a
way that accomplished designers, as well as beginners,
can find information, know-how, and stimulating ideas
written in an organized and easily understandable man-
ner. It is staggeringly complete and therefore hardly a
volume for one’s back pocket, but I am sure it will find
its way into many a workbox, as well as the shelves of
studios and classrooms alike. If you own the first edi-
tion there is more than enough additional material to
warrant adding this second edition to your library.
In my experience as a teacher, I have learned that
it is important for a student to learn one way well.
Once that is done it becomes clear that any way—
the student’s way—is possible. Steve Shelley in A
Practical Guide for Stage Lighting, Second Edition,
has dissected his own carefully devised process and
generously presented it to the reader. He shows us
every aspect of lighting and how it becomes a part of
a total production. The emphasis is on craft but his
experience in design allows us to see how the two go
hand in hand. The how may well determine a large
part of the what.
It is through the light onstage that theater com-
municates with an audience. Only when one has a
richly developed and organized language, a clear way
of speaking, can one begin to express the light with a
nuance and subtlety that will reveal the depth of fine
performance. Once one has read and comprehended
this second edition of A Practical Guide for Stage
Lighting, one’s ideas in light cannot help but become
more organized and systematic, enabling one to com-
municate those ideas with greater depth and clarity.
This organization, coupled with a developed eye for
composition, is all that one needs to be a fine designer.
I have no doubt that this book will stimulate the
designing of better light onstage, and make better
lighting designers of us all. Bravo!