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Lighting – A part of a changing aesthetics

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The advancements in, and the use of technology within, the theatre have resulted in some changes in directorial practice. As these advances in technology have changed the emphasis of the process of production, the prominence given to the director as sole ‘auteur’ of a piece of work has become diminished. The scenographic team is now more legitimately described as the ‘auteurs’ of a production. Another contributory factor for these developments has been the changes in theatre practice influenced both by European and Eastern European performance theories. This article explores the nature of these changes and influences and discusses the technology, which has offered greater scope for the manipulation of the stage image, in particular the use of lighting in scenography. The director is no longer a specialist in every area, ‘a man of the theatre’. He or she works collaboratively with the other artists in the production team in a much more democratic process of production. More than at any other time, the director works as another member of the team not only because he or she lacks knowledge, but because the technology has allowed considerable flexibility and the director’s ‘vision’ can be translated into many forms, materials and theories. The contribution of scenography to these changes, changes in acting styles and of what is expected within a performance space, has transformed the way in which an actor uses that space. For example, the importance that Brecht placed on Caspar Neher’s designs for a cohesive performance structure (based on his sketches of/for the rehearsal process) and the relation of the actor to light (which Appia recognized as important) has resulted in stage technologies and scenography emerging as a partner of the actor and thus a new aesthetic.
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Keywords: Aesthetics; Appia; Directors and Designers; Effects and projection; Lighting and scenic reform; Lighting controls and design

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Derby

Publication date: July 1, 2013

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  • Scene is dedicated to a critical examination of space and scenic production. The journal provides an opportunity for dynamic debate, reflection and criticism. With a strong interdisciplinary focus, we welcome articles, interviews, visual essays, reports from conferences and festivals. We want to explore new critical frameworks for the scholarship of creating a scene.
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