CriticalDance Forum

Lighting in Strange Places
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Author:  librarian [ Mon Dec 09, 2002 5:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Lighting in Strange Places

I would be very interested in a discussion from our Lighting Design folk concerning the difficulties in lighting outdoor venues!

Author:  salzberg [ Mon Dec 09, 2002 5:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lighting in Strange Places

1. Focusing. Hard to do in daylight. Some outdoor theatres have covered stage houses, so at least you can focus the sidelight and overhead lights in relative darkness, but your front-of-house (those lights that are either over or to the sides of the audience) is always a problem.

2. Setting cues. Also hard to do in daylight.

3. The sun is often still up at curtain time. This, of course, washes out any brilliant ideas one might bring to the first 20 minutes or so of the production.

4. Birds

5. Bats

Actually, my favorite theatre in the world is Miller Outdoor Theatre in Houston. It's got an enclosed stage house, so you can focus most of the show during the day, and when those big front doors slide open in the late afternoon and you see the grassy hill and the trees, and hear the's magic.

Author:  LMCtech [ Mon Dec 09, 2002 6:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lighting in Strange Places

6. Weather. Wind particularly.

Author:  djb [ Mon Dec 09, 2002 7:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lighting in Strange Places

Hurricanes especially (lighting towers fall over).

<small>[ 12-09-2002, 20:57: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

Author:  librarian [ Tue Dec 10, 2002 8:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lighting in Strange Places

Shades of Woodstock, djb! :)

If you're lighting for an outdoor event that occurs at night, would you have to do your planning work, etc. at night then?

Author:  salzberg [ Tue Dec 10, 2002 11:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lighting in Strange Places

Well, the problem is that we often have no more time in the theatre than we do in a conventional venue, so one gets pretty good at combining technical and dress rehearsals and fixing cues "on the fly" (which is a useful skill in any type of theatre).

It's been a few years, but as I recall, a typical schedule at Miller was:

8AM: loadin. Hang the show and focus the lights that are upstage of the proscenium.

7PM: focus front-of-house.

8:30PM: combination technical/dress rehearsal.

Author:  BabsLights [ Mon Jan 20, 2003 6:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lighting in Strange Places

Wildlife - you mentioned bats and birds.

I would also add insects that bite, mongoose/mongeese? that steal your food, possoms that climb across battens already focused, flying squirrels that drop down and scare you, and crickets and other night insects so loud you can't hear the electrician.

Time is the biggest problem, and the weather!

Author:  djb [ Mon Jan 20, 2003 9:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lighting in Strange Places

Yes, the wildlife can be bothersome when you're performing, too. I once had to hold my arms in high 5th for all too long while a bee stung me in the armpit. So much for the myth that if you don't bother it, it won't sting you.

<small>[ 20 January 2003, 10:12 PM: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Nov 06, 2004 11:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lighting in Strange Places

Technical Talk
By Robin Johnson for The Stage

Two weeks ago I was waxing lyrical about the effective simplicity of the lighting at Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production of Such Sweet Thunder. At the risk of boring you good readers, I’m going to discuss simple but effective lighting again this week, albeit in a very different context.

The reason for this is entirely coincidental. I like to try and keep my contributions to this column as contemporary as possible and the other week I happened to enjoy an evening which again featured such lighting. Only this time it was outdoors.

click for more

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:49 am ]
Post subject: 

Lighting in Moscow
By Robin Johnson for The Stage

It’s not often that I have reason to discuss Moscow with anyone, but the other week I had just such a conversation about the Russian capital - and utterly fascinating it was too.

The conversation took place with Alan Thomson, managing director of Production Resource Group’s Croydon office. The company recently had to get the lighting rig from the now-closed Madrid production of Cats back to Croydon, re-prep and repack it, then ship it out to Moscow for the latest incarnation of the production - all within ten days.

click for more

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