Ines Minkiewickz, our 2nd collaborator and lighting designer saw the show for the first time today and she quickly got to scribbling down in her book a rough lighting plan, brainstorming lighting states, rifling through gels all over the table and looking up gobos to use. This was all very exciting for us as this is an area that we haven’t previously been able to explore as we usually just used what was available to us at venues so we found it hard to create a lighting design that could be transferable to all different venues. Ines’ initial ideas were:
- Using gobos* to cast interesting shadows across puppets and add further detail to set/scenery adding new layers to our simplistic table and black curtains. - Using gels enhance the tone of the and specific pink gels on Pink Lady puppet to bring out the colour of her foam body - Using birdies* to provide front and back light on Pink Lady in hoop creating a spectacular silhouette as the opening image of the show - Using white side light when the Robber character is running away from Police to represent activity offstage that the audience can’t see but can imagine the headlights of a Police car on the Robber. This makes the world of the show much larger than what the audience can just see. - Using 3 lighting states; 1st state of just the table, 2nd state includes table and us, 3rd state will include all of the stage.
After discussing what we could achieve it was then about how we can achieve it, which was one of our objectives from this R&D period was to create a flexible lighting plan that can tour to many different venues ranging low to high technical specifications. We ordered birdies, plugs, cables, gels and materials to build 2 T bars. This lighting equipment will enable us to tour to more venues with lower tech specs but still can have front, back and side lighting with no worries. This will enable the show to tour to a larger variety of venues and reach more audiences.
‘The Black Hoods Cabaret’ set is a table with a black curtain and the title of the show in bright orange letters and a black back drop as well as two puppeteers all in black. The brightest things going on are the puppets pink foam or brown cardboard bodies. So the lighting can bring added detail with colour, shadows and lighting from different angles to change the audiences’ focus across the space and even offstage. Table top puppetry can usually happen in just a small area of the stage but we’ve found with sophisticated lighting design that you can create activity not just in that small area therefore widening the world you are presenting in your production.
*Gobo: A gobo (or GOBO) is a physical stencil or template slotted inside, or placed in front of, a lighting source, used to control the shape of emitted light. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gobo_(lighting)
* A birdie is a miniature lantern that’s ideal for hiding in small parts of a set or along the downstage edge of the stage. It provides a surprisingly bright soft-edged pool of light. Although the beam is sometimes unevenly spread, the benefits of having a punch of light where no normal lantern can go are massive. (http://spa.exeter.ac.uk/drama/tech/lighting/typesoflantern.pdf)