The Real Inspector Hound
Clarence Brown Theatre
Lighting Designer: Collin Hall
Director: Terry Silver-Alford
Scenic Designer: Carrie Ferrelli
Costume Designer: Margo Birdwhistell
Sound Designer: Brandon Evans
Props Master: Kathryn Nabors
Stage Manager: Kelli Cool
Photo Credit: Brynn Yeager
The artistic vision for this production focuses on the meta-theatrical quality of the show. To accomplish this, all of the team’s designs and the acting are hyper-theatrical and exaggerated. For the lighting to enhance the theatricality, I chose to first light the set. There are specials on every major scenic element: curtains, the false proscenium, the ropes, the pin rail, the back wall. Blue light emanates backstage as the running blues, letting the audience see the actors through the open doorways the scenic designer left. Practical elements like the portrait lights and the three chandeliers add life and dimension to the set.
Since the play is set in the 1950’s, I researched lighting methods and techniques that were popular at the time. One of the most popular methods, which is still in use today, was created by Stanley McCandless. His method uses two front lights, one with a cool color and one with a warm color, at 45º angles in order to create a dimensional white on the actors’ faces. The intensity of the warm and cool lights can also be manipulated depending on the mood of the moment. Because we conveniently had a chandelier above the center of the stage, I chose to use it as motivation for the warm system of lights and filled in with two cool systems. Since the chandelier was the motivation, the angles of the lights changed depending on which area they were focused. This approach was particularly effective on the thrust stage because it means that all sides of the audience can see essentially the same show.
Another big aspect to the lighting design is its relationship to all the sound cues. For each stinger, the angle of the light steepens, the color becomes more saturate, and the light focuses on the actors, adding to the drama of the moment. For each music cue, the color becomes more saturate, depending on the mood of the music cue.