Let There Be Light ~ created by the Lighting Designer
Students will demonstrate understanding of the role of the lighting designer, his/her responsibilities, and the importance of light to the production by creating a lighting design for their chosen scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Note for Door: “Please wait. Mrs. M. will open the door in just a moment.”
Stage Lighting set for demonstrations
Actual lighting apparatus or transparencies of pictures/drawings of different types of theatre lights
Turn out all the lights BEFORE students start arriving for class. Open the classroom door. Prop the door open to let a little light in. As students enter, caution them to carefully find their seats and sit down. Start making announcements and/or talking about the homework and the previous lesson in the dark. Ignore questions/comments about the lights being off.
Step 1—Transistion: Set up basic rules for conducting class in the dark. Have students make suggestions. The stream of light from the doorway should give you enough light to distinguish who is speaking.
Discussion: Talk about the fact that we’re in the dark.
Ask: Why do you do you think we’re in the dark?
Why do you want to turn the lights on?
What is so important about light?
How does that relate to Theatre.
Step 2—Discussion: Essential elements for (most) theatre: actor, audience, and LIGHT.
Ask: Is light an essential element for theatre? Why? How?
What does light create for a theatre production? (mood, differentiation, etc.)
How does this enhance theatre?
Step 3—Ask for volunteers to demonstrate flourescent lighting and stage lighting. Turn on the classroom lights, then turn on the stage lights. Show them separately and at the same time. Discussion: The difference between flourescent lighting and stage lighting
Ask: What is the difference between flourescent lighting and stage lighting?
(color, control of area, mood, etc.)
Why would we go to the trouble to use stage lighting?
Step 4—Explain and demonstrate how the lighting system is set up.
Discuss the effects after each of the following demonstrations:
Use the lighting board to show how different areas can be lit.
Demonstrate dimming, combination lighting, etc.
Show the students some gels. Use gelled lights to show the difference in colors on stage.
Select students to stand in the different gelled lights.
Combine gels to create a different look.
Checking for Understanding throughout the demonstration/discussion process.
Ask: How important is lighting to theatre? Why?
What other things can lighting do? (create different acting areas)
What are some different sources of light? (lamp, candle, etc.)
How can they be suggested by stage lighting?
Step 5— Guided Practice: Applying what the students have learned.
Ask for three volunteers (one female actor/one male and a stage directions reader).
Divide the other students into two groups: set designers and lighting designers.
Have the first two students read the Anne Frank scene (Anne, Peter) out loud.
As they read the scene (script in hand), the rest of the students listen and jot down details and ideas needed to fulfill their designs (either as a set designer or a lighting designer).
NOTE: The “Secret Annex” is described as well as the set requirements (upstairs area, two bedrooms separate, common space with table, etc. Also discuss the fact that the rest of the annex needs to be dimly lit so the audience can see Mr. & Mrs. Frank on stage.)
Give both groups time to collaborate and come to a consensus about their designs.
Teams may need time to collaborate with each other as designers on a production team would collaborate so the different areas of the set can be lit.
Have the set design team create the needed spaces (upstairs area, two bedrooms seperate, common space with table, etc.) by using desks, tables, panels, etc. in the room or on stage.
The other team collaborates on a lighting design, using the stage lighting already set.
Make sure this team covers the parts of the script that includes: Anne leaving the common space and entering Peter’s bedroom. If needed, suggest dimming one area and bringing up the lights in another space.
Step 9—Modeling: Have the two actors play the scene again–on the set designed by the set designer students while using the lighting the other students designed. (When students with disabilities are in class, have them play Mr. & Mrs. Frank in the background), as we discussed the fact that we still needed to see the rest of the annex though more dimly.
Step 10—Instruction: Follow this same pattern in creating your own designs for set/scenery and lighting. Tell me the steps we followed. (review the process)
Read the script
Notate details from the script (areas, mood, movement, etc.)
Jot down creative ideas.
Think about different sources of light.
Consider what gels you would like to use. Notate the color of gels you want to use.
Sketch out a floorplan, using circles to show where the light falls.
Determine the overlap.
Determine the focus. (hard or soft)
Step 11—If possible, let the students use the remaining time to work on the assignments for this part of their Production portfolio:
Lighting Designer: 75pts
Correlating Handouts/Research 5pts
Lighting Layout Floor Plan 15pts
Write-up @ design/gel/etc. 15pts
Color samples 5pts
Explanation of choices 5pts
Lighting Construction Crew
Correlating Handouts/Research 5pts
Checking for Understanding
Step 12—Distribute handouts: Lighting Handout, Lighting Designer Worksheet, List of Lighting Designer assignments
Advise Students that:
Students are expected to use the time wisely.
Participation points will be determined by how much is accomplish during the period.
Students will be required to submit all work at the end of the period.
I will be available to help, clarify, and answer questions.
Step 13—Continually monitor the students throughout the class period. Maintain close proximity with students by walking around the room, checking students’ work.
Step 14—Keep the students apprised of the time.
Step 15— Ask students if they need any help.
Step 16—Have students wind up their projects and clean up a few minutes before the bell rings.
Ask: Was this time helpful? How? Why?
CLOSURE: Remind students that they must finish the remainder of this work outside of class and to write in your learning log.
The products for this lesson will include a preliminary sketch, floor plan showing color and location of light, a final detailed sketch (colored),, and an explanation of choices.
Depending on time, this is most likely a two-day lesson.
The handout may be used as an overhead projector presentation if a second day of detailed instruction is desired.