Without Them, We’d Be Stumbling in the Dark


For people who are less theater-minded, the role of lighting might not be as obvious as an actor or writer, but in a festival like 14/48, it’s an essential challenge.

Lighting designer Lily McLeod has helped with 14/48’s lighting before, but she’s still considered a virgin on the design team. She explained that lighting is especially important in a festival like 14/48.

“When you’re so limited in the set, she said, “Lighting is world building.”

The color, intensity and quality of light can underscore the emotions in the scene and give the audience an idea of where and when they are.

The job is a special challenge because, in a day, she has to create the settings for seven completely different plays. Even if two plays were set in similar places (for example, a sunny field), it’s still her job to make sure the audience feel like they’re in a different place.

One way to do that (oddly enough) is by making sure directors need the same thing. If two directors need similar spotlights in slightly different places, it’s in Lily’s best interest to suggest that one of the directors shift a little so she can use the same lights for both.

That means that she can spend more time and attention on the lighting that helps set the plays apart.

It’s a challenge when you’re used to a longer lead times before a plays with less variation, but if last night’s show was any indication, the design team is up to the task.

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