When the curtain went up on Michael Grandage's otherwise disappointing Madame de Sade a few weeks ago, there were gasps of delight among the audience. And it was indeed a gasp-worthy sight: the set simply shimmered. Why? Because it was brilliantly lit.
The lighting of a production is not always so striking; it doesn't always need to be. Often its job is not to distract, not to stand out. Perhaps this is why, when the various annual theatre awards are reported in the media, the winners of the technical categories usually merit only a brief mention. Lighting isn't a solid, physical thing like a set or a costume. It's a hard art to pin down; unless, as was the case with Madame de Sade, the critics are struggling to find positive things to note, it is rare for lighting to receive such emphasis in reviews.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Seeing the Light?
Natasha Tripney talks about how lighting design is usually left out of the critical equation: