A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO STAGE LIGHTING
comprises one scene. The “Act & Scene” column lists
only abbreviated song titles, while the “Systems” and
“Specials” columns list general images as well as spe-
cific washes. Once the look for each song or scene
becomes clearer, it will then be possible to first list
the specific washes and colors used for the big looks
or changes for each scene. Then it will be possible to
compare all of the colors and systems used over the
course of the entire production. The final column for
Hokey is “Backing,” used to list the different colors that
are, right now, imagined for the translucency. Once the
looks needed on the translucency for the entire show
are more defined, the number of color washes can be
totaled up over the course of the show. In this version,
the cyc appears to need blue, green, and “day.”
At this point, these are the only two core design doc-
uments that exist. Until more information is provided,
it is not possible to make more defined decisions about
systems or colors. Until that information is coalesced,
the preliminary magic sheet can’t yet be constructed.
Webster’s dictionary defines the word collaborate as
“the act of working or laboring together, or to act
jointly in works of art.” To be able to collaborate,
however, requires communication and cooperation.
Communication is certainly one topic; all members
of the design team must “speak the same language,”
i.e., know the piece, the structure, the style, and the
overall objective. Cooperation is another matter alto-
gether and it can often be traced directly back to indi-
vidual psychology. Sometimes egos and theatre don’t
make for the healthiest of combinations.
In theatre, meetings are organizational tools that,
on paper, provide both those goals. In reality, like any
other organization, they’re often viewed as both a boon
and a bane. They’re useful to distribute information;
instructions and directions are stated only once, and
everyone hears the same thing. They’re sometimes useful
as a forum for exchanging ideas and making decisions.
And sometimes they turn into private discussions held in
a public forum that preclude the ability to get anything
accomplished. Any meeting can easily turn into any or all
three of these scenarios. Meetings that are quick, to the
point, and allow mutual conclusions or decisions to be
made, are the ones considered the most successful.
Meetings can be classified into three different
types, based mainly on the number of participants or
the agenda: production meetings with the entire pro-
duction team, conceptual meetings with members of
the creative staff, or individual one-on-one meetings,
held only between two members of the team.
Most designers feel it’s smart for the produc-
tion stage manager to attend most of the meetings,
while other designers insist that the stage manager
attends every one of them. Most of the time, in pro-
fessional situations, it’s the stage manager who calls
the meeting in the first place.
At some point there’s hopefully, at least, one produc-
tion meeting when the entire production team con-
venes in order to be introduced, review the production
schedule, coordinate or address potential outside
conflicts, and address any cross-departmental issues.
Ideally, there are many meetings to check that sched-
ules are being met, and make sure that potential prob-
lems are addressed before they become issues. On the
other hand, meetings about the show may be delayed
until all of the creative team has been hired. If that
doesn’t happen until the last minute, there may be
only one meeting, and its first order of business may
be to quickly create a production schedule. In those
cases, the initial production schedule presented at the
Act & Scene Systems Specials Backing
Act 1 scene 1Warm sunny day; wedding intros Cyc day
"Welcome" Amber backs Haze Warmth
"Wedding" Color floor wedding couple CC?Rainbows; stripes?
Act 1 scene 2Blue? Cloudy? More down-y?Cyc blue
"more evil" FOH shadows for chorus Tornado skies?
Tee-boo enter Tee-boo enter? Green porriage?
Blue sides?Lightning?Cyc get ugly
Act 1 scene 3Cool when Tee-boo gone Cyc partial restore
"Tee-boo gone" Then warm to partial restore back to wedding CC with Te e-boo depart
of A1sc1 but no pookie?Desolation
Blue sides?a "hole" in her placebare trees
Cool FOH Cemetery
Figure 3.3 The Systems & Specials Sheet for Hokey, version 1