Teaching Drama Technical Theatre

Nobody Goes Home Whistling the Lights

lighting design
Written by Craig Mason


[T]he key to his art is knowing not just how to use all those wonderful toys but how and when not to.

Here’s an interview with lighting designer Al Gurdon, who designed the lights for the 2013 Super Bowl halftime show. This is a great one for your tech students. It speaks about lighting design as one would speak about any artistic endeavour.

Using his emotional reaction to a song, he will choose a predominant color and stick with it. “I try to keep the colors consistent instead of jumping all over or changing all the time,” Mr. Gurdon says. And then he starts working out the intricate choreography of the lights. He creates a chart on which he maps every measure of the music—at times, every beat—specifying what lights will hit what part of the performance.

I love this notion. I’ve seen far too many productions where the tech and the show are at odds with one another. This is a wonderful reminder of how important it is to make all aspects of a show fall under the umbrella of a single vision.

Read the whole piece here.

About the author

Craig Mason