A Note from Wu Chen
This morning, I was talking to playwright and theatre maker Carlyle Brown, who also happens to be this month’s Sightlines contributor. We were talking, as we often do these days, about value, storytelling, powerful theatre, history and the integral role and inherent intelligence of the audience. Interestingly, Lighting Designer Erin Belpedio and I had talked about many similar things in this month’s interview.
Both Carlyle and Erin also talked about technicians and designers. Carlyle told me about a master class lighting designer (and July Sightlines contributor) Mike Wangen gave. The gathering, Carlyle relayed, was rapt as Mike talked about the skill and consideration that went into making seemingly innocuous choices - and the tremendous impact those choices had on the experience of the show.
I was reminded of a time when I was asked why I liked a particular director/designer so much. By way of example, I said that when I asked this person about a random piece of set dressing, he could give me a whole story about it - not just why it was there on a set, but why it was there and present in the lives of the people in the tale unfolding in the world thus created.
And I was reminded of great dance. A brilliant solo is astounding, and an amazing ensemble can be awesome - in the literal sense. I remembered a dance piece in which a simple costume change transformed the entire experience. The clarity and focus was palpable; one couldn’t imagine the performers wearing anything else.
I was reminded of listening to music, and the tremendous technical skill of the musicians, and the many different ways they learn and perform. The power of an excellent sound design.
The paint detail that absolutely no one notices but everyone would notice if it weren’t there.
A character vividly sketched with a few inexplicably instantly revelatory sentences.
Marketing designs so clever you wonder if it was done especially for you.
A stage crew executing a seamless scene change in full view.
A brilliant and cohesive acting ensemble.
A perfectly called show.
-Wu Chen Khoo
co-founder and Operations Director
Technical Tools of the Trade
p.s. We’ve got lots of events coming up, especially in early October, so keep a close eye on the Website and Subscribe to the Facebook page so you don’t miss anything! Our Fall Panel series is going to be especially interesting!