At its most basic, stage lighting functions to make the actors and their environs visible to the audience. But it can also be used to
Evoke the appropriate mood
Indicate time of day and location
Shift emphasis from one stage area to another
Reinforce the style of the production
Make objects on stage appear flat or three dimensional
Blend the visual elements on stage into a unified whole
The Designer’s work
The lighting designer begins by reading the script to be produced noting the type of light it calls for in each scene. Designer and director share their ideas about how light could be used to enhance the production concept at their first meeting. Early meetings with the set designer are also important because the set and lighting designers must collaborate on how to achieve the desired “look” for the play. The plan for the set may influence the placement and direction of the necessary lighting instruments, so flagging any potential problems in this area as early as possible makes sense.
Lighting designers attend rehearsals to get a feel for the lighting cues and to plan how to light the actors as they move from place to place on stage. When the blocking is set, the lighting designer can start to work out which lighting instruments will be used and where each one will be located.
:The planning tools lighting designers use include
Paintings and photos showing the mood and style of specific lighting techniques and are gathered through research
A lighting plot: a scale drawing of the stage and set as seen from above showing the planned layout of each lighting fixture to be used
A vertical section plot: a cross-section of the stage and set drawn to scale showing the vertical sightlines and the height and position of each instrument
An instrument schedule: a chart that lists each lighting instrument separately along with the details of its type, wattage, purpose, filter color, the dimmer it will be plugged into and the ciruit that will control it
A cue sheet: a complete list of the various lighting effects the designer has planned for the show and when they occur