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Let There Be Light

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Stage lighting is no longer just a matter of turning on enough lamps so the actors can be seen. Fortunately this idea went away long ago. Today, the lighting designer is part of the overall production concept and is expected to be a master of art, science, history, psychology and communications.

He must also understand the science of light, optics, vision, the psychology of perception and lighting technology. Using these tools the lighting designer must learn to think, feel and create with his heart. Ultimately the lighting designer must be an artist! He must understand style, composition, balance, aesthetics and human emotions.

Fortunately, Bali Agung, the first production to be staged in the new Bali Theatre at Bali Safari and Marine Park, has just such a person in Philip Lethlean, who has lit internationally acclaimed projects in countries across the world. Having collaborated with the creative team on other projects, he understands the needs to highlight certain aspects of the story, costumes and sets to ensure that the production is suitably illuminated in all respects. With more than 500 lights already in place and more arriving daily, Philip with have the tools he needs to add sparkle to this new production of a classic and authentic Balinese legend.

According to Philip, there is great satisfaction in designing the lighting for a production that fulfils the needs and objectives of the creative director and all the other designers that work together to put the show on. “However there is even greater satisfaction in knowing that you have helped to move a whole audience emotionally through the controlled and planned use of light,” Philip said. He explained that theatre producers learnt years ago, that they can spend 'millions' of dollars, on scenery, costumes, and performers and have it all wasted because of 'bad' lighting.

“Now theatrical people realize this and the lighting designer has become an important and integral member of each show and in the entertainment industry overall,” Philip explained.“The lighting designer must be able to visualize the images the director has in mind, and ‘see’ the final lighting in his head, scene by scene, long before the production is finished,” he added, “That’s where working with people you know and understand helps.”Philip said that lighting was one of the most rewarding professions around today but that it could also be one of the most frustrating professions if the team isn’t working as a whole.

“ However, in this production, BALI AGUNG, the whole teams understand each others needs and think as one.“The story is a great one, the sets and costumes are fabulous and I believe the production is one people will talk about for years to come,” Philip said.

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