Lighting is an integral part of theatrical performance. Not just so you can see what is happening on stage; light and colour also change the mood of the scene and the emotions of the audience.
Colours in the spectrum of red, orange and yellow are known as warm. Those colours remind us of summer and give us a happy warm glowing feeling. Colours in the spectrum of blue and green give us a colder more winter feeling.
I talked to Lighting designer Joe Stathers who was lighting designer on the Bristol old Vic theatre schools recent production at the Redgrave theatre of The Two Gentlemen of Verona. He said that that there were two definite locations in mind when setting the play. It starts in Verona which is dark and moody, and then we go to Milan which is very chic and bright. The light gives the clear difference between the stark scenes and brighter ones. Joe goes on to say the time of day is a big thing and many scenes in this play are in the night. It gives a spooky effect when needed. Joe is a keen fan of saturated colours, they don’t always reflect off the actor’s faces, but brings a different element to the stage as the scenes move on.
It’s not just only theatre that can change the emotional spectrum of the audience with colour, but also music events we have here at the Redgrave theatre, such as The Jerseys, Dillie Keane and Derek Ryan. Would that slow sad love song wouldn’t be the same without a deep blue colour and a white pin spot on the face of the singer?
On your next visit to the theatre, see if you notice how the lighting effects your emotional enjoyment of the show.
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