All Things New

Rob Matthews

READ : Revelation 21:10-27 The city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light. (v. 23) In my lighting design days, I often wondered after a show closed how I might design it differently should I ever get the chance to do so. Theater is a collaborative art, and I worked not only with actors and directors but also with the playwright. How might I have designed the physical …

Who’s Afraid of the Dark?

Rob Matthews

READ : 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 For you are all children of light, children of the day. (v. 5) One of the most important sets of lights in a theater are the emergency lights. While these are legally required to be in good working order, an experienced stage manager will have them checked regularly, just for peace of mind. After all, should the electricity fail during a show, hundreds of people would be stuck in the dark; in that darkness lives …

Walking in the Light

Rob Matthews

READ : John 12:34-36 The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light. (v. 35) Walking backstage in a theater can be dangerous. Lots of scenery, props, and people are scattered about. During an onstage blackout, the only illumination comes from small blue running lights strategically placed throughout the backstage areas. Even with these lights, seasoned stagehands will avoid moving backstage during scene change blackouts in which they are not involved. As the …

Light of Discovery

Rob Matthews

READ : Jeremiah 31:33-35 The Lord . . . gives the sun for light by day and . . . moon and the stars for light by night. (v. 35) Whether by day or night, light fuels human discovery. Visual perception, our eyesight, is based on processing information conveyed by visual light. If you can see anything at all, even the faintest blur in a dark room, it is because your eye is receiving light. What we call light and …

Finding Our Light

Rob Matthews

READ : Isaiah 2:1-5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord. (v. 5) “Find your light!” the show’s director calls out, obviously tired. The first technical rehearsal in which actors and lights come together is always brutal. As carefully as the lighting designer has studied the actors’ movements, there is always a variation between where the light is focused and where the actor is standing. Generally the light wins, unless it’s significantly off-target, …

Led by the Light

Rob Matthews

READ : Psalm 119:105-112 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (v. 105) A good followspot operator knows how to lead a performer. It’s a subtle enough trick that you’ve probably never noticed at a concert or theater performance, but the spotlights move slightly ahead of the performers, leading them to their next location. It takes a lot of practice; the operators have to know where the performers need to go and how …