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A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO STAGE LIGHTING
The drawings for the Hybrid Theatre and the
site survey confirmed that there’s some amount of
rake in the orchestra seating. Everyone in both the
balcony and the orchestra is going to see the floor.
The best bet to color it will be using overhead back-
light and downlight systems: warm for the wedding
and the dawn (R20), cool for the night scenes (Gam
850),greenforTeeboo(Lee124),andlavenderfor
the Rock (Gam 945). In order to desaturate all of
those colors, and provide a system of special pools, a
No Color system will also be included, presumably as
one of the downlight systems.
The cue master shows that the performance will
beginwithPookie in4Left. Whileher placement
might seem ideal in a down pool, I suspect her final
placement will change once we get into the theatre.
I also get the feeling that she won’t remain static all
that long. A high sidelight pipe end special will pro-
vide a more side-to-side coverage, without seeing
the source of light as strongly bounce off the floor.
For that matter, I’m inclined to expand that focus
and create an entire high side pipe end system; it’s a
good stage wash that provides dimensionality using
relatively few lighting instruments. It can be initially
used as the rest of the company enters and joins
Pookie.Sincethere’ssomuchskinexposedoutside
of the costumes, and so much action upstage of any
frontlight cutoff points, the pipe ends will be col-
oredinalightlavendertint,Roscolux51.Because
of the number of night scenes I intend to match the
pipe end system with a desaturated blue, covering
the entire stage in Roscolux 64. Those colors will
be repeated in the head high instruments on the
boom, at least for the first act of the show. In addi-
tion to those two systems, a third system of high
sidelights will be plotted with color scrollers. They
can be used to provide saturated punch from the
high side as well.
Presumingthatthehighsidesystemsworklaterin
the plotting process, the same position could also be
used for a template system. Templates will be needed
for the night scenes, and can also be used to provide
dimensionality and break up the light in other scenes.
While the skin tone from the high side will be the
light lavender, the frontlight will be a light pink tint,
Roscolux 33, to provide a color contrast between
the two systems. Likewise, the cool frontlight will
be a slightly different tint of blue, Lee 161. Both of
these colors appear to work well with the costume
swatches. Mainly due to the director’s request to keep
the lighting clean and maintain the black surround,
the frontlight will be plotted as straight frontlight.
Any angled frontlight runs more of a risk of causing
performer’s shadows on the black masking legs. In
addition to followspots, there will be three frontlight
specials on Autoyokes hung on the truss to provide
frontlight specials. They’ll also be equipped with a
color scroller.
The box boom position is a little lower than the
frontlight truss. Some skin tone pastel systems will be
included, along with some saturated colors for Tee-boo
(Lee116),theKnottyPiners(Roscolux44),andagen-
eral template breakup to provide more dimensionality.
There will be a two-color drop wash on the balcony
rail, along with a template breakup system, for the rock
drop. The orchestra pit will also contain color systems
usedtoilluminatethePrecipiceofDoominAct3.
The trans will be lit by LED striplights on the
bottom, so that conceivably any color can be created.
The overhead strip lights will fill in day, night, and a
neutral No Color wash.
Special gear will also include strobe lights and
pyro, used mainly for Tee-boo’s entrance and the
kidnap scene. Haze will become very important during
the night scenes and the battle. If there’s enough room
on the overhead electrics, a system of moving lights
from either the back or down positions will help pro-
vide additional color, punch, and flash.
Step 2: Preliminary Magic Sheet
From an abstract perspective, the ebb or flow of a
lighting system’s growth can be a compelling per-
sonal observation. For example, the center-center
front special, noted in the Act 1, scene 1 wedding,
is presently listed as a high-angle frontlight from the
1st Electric. As the systems and specials sheet for
the entire show is reviewed, it may become appar-
ent that the high-angle frontlight, or that color, may
be called for in similar specials around other areas of
the stage. Eventually that color or angle may spawn
an entirely new multi-instrument system covering the
first zone, which might conceivably expand to the
entire performance area. Comparing the complete
sheet allows the designer to remember how the sys-
tem came to be, and how each component’s function
will perform.
Consider another example: the green stage wash
originally earmarked for Tee-boo (Figure5.13A) any
time he’s onstage, is then noted as possibly being
“segmented” and “infection spreads w/his entrance?”
with his entrance in Act 1, scene 2. As Tee-boo enters,
the warm color of the floor might slowly cross-fade
into green from one side of the stage to the other,
spreading across the stage after his entrance (Figure
5.13B). That system, which initially had been con-
sidered a single-channel stage wash, might slowly
be broken apart and assigned to upstage/downstage
stripes of control, in order to cross-fade in that man-
ner. Channel 1 is assigned to his entrance, then 1A

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