The Language of Light and Love Mar 22, 2013
by Amiya B
The house lights slowly fade without warning or a preshow speech. The entire theatre becomes a black void. A voice begins to speak. The darkness is broken by an image of his mother. She seems to radiate beyond the projection screen. The voice, still in shadow, starts to tell us a story, his story, the story of his mother, his sister, and their journey. The voice explains that in conventional theatre, a performer should be lit by at least 2 lights, one a cool diagonal front light and one warm diagonal front light at a 45 degree angle hung 90 degrees apart. As he explains this, we see the example on stage, first the cool, then the warm. In the light, Itai is revealed. He goes on to tell us more about the different angles of light while seamlessly interweaving the chronicle of his mother’s last months on earth as she battled terminal cancer.
As a lighting designer myself, I was excited to see the language of light used to tell such a compelling story. When I sat down to write about the work I had just seen, I was filled with rush of thoughts and emotions, I couldn’t decided what to put down on paper…should I explain who Stanley McCandless is… should I go in to a deep discussion on why I find shin busters and diagonal backlight angles to be more compelling angles than front light...or why the PAR is my favorite light too. I realized that this is a story of a son, who loved his mother and who was gracious enough to share his journey with us, through the lens of light. The story was completely compelling and the lighting is simply beautiful. Without pretense or posturing, Itai took on us an incredibly personal journey with humor, wit, drama, courage, and vulnerability, dark and light.
Go see this show! Keep your eyes wide open and take in every percentage of light, from the extremely bright to the very dim, blue, amber, front, back, side. The words are poignant and the lighting enhances each thought. The lighting cues and the storytelling are absolutely indivisible.