Optical Optimism

My eyeballs hurt.  Tonight was our final dress rehearsal and we were under the wire to get the lighting done so we could see it in the run-through.

To be fair, this posting is lighting centric, because that was my primary focus tonight.  While all this was going on there were individual review sessions, last-minute costume adjustments, impromptu technical conferences, and who knows what else going on as well.  We have many teams working on independent tasks and all towards the same goal of a brilliant production.  At this point the plans have been laid and the expectations are set, so simultaneous independent tasking and problem-solving are the most efficient way to move forward.

For me, the stage manager, the lighting designer, and the board operator, lighting is a bit frantic because it can’t be finalized for certain until all the other elements are in place.  Lighting design is one thing in theory and quite another in actuality.  Not only does the ever-evolving staging have to be nailed down, but the set itself has to be constructed, the costumes have to be complete, hair and make-up must be done, and all other tangible visible elements must be in place.  Only then can we really see what the lighting looks like and then make informed adjustments.

While we had set most of the lighting cues before last night’s rehearsal, we hadn’t seen them with costumed actors until then.  And, of course, adjustments needed to be made.  Plus we still had to write cues for the remainder of the production.

So we spent the better part of the afternoon writing and re-writing lighting cues until we had to stop because the set crew had arrived to prepare for the top of the show.  Well, we didn’t exactly stop.  We kept writing light cues, but without the benefit of being able to see what they looked like.  Luckily we were well into the process so we had a pretty good visual memory of the set, the costumes, and which instruments created what effect on all of the above.  So we wrote cues sight-unseen up until time to start the show.  Then I stopped and watched Act I, adjusting cues when possible along the way.  During intermission we wrote some more cues — again, sight-unseen.  Then I watched Act II and we made more adjustments where we could.  During the second intermission we wrote some more cues (almost all of them!).  Then I watched Act III, made some adjustments, and we finished writing the cues after the run-through while the cast changed out of costume and got ready to go home.

So, for me, it was a frantic evening of preparation, observation, speculation and consideration.  And now my eyeballs hurt.

But, the show looks wonderful.  The sets, the costumes and, yes, the lighting.  And, lest we forget, the actors and the orchestra are doing a fantastic job.  I had a few acting and staging notes to pass along, but the performances are all in fantastic shape.

We have our first audience Thursday night and then just one weekend of performances before we put this magical mystery tour to bed on Sunday.  Get your tickets now!

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