The Yale Dramat’s “The Creation of the World” explores the nature of light. To further illuminate this topic, scene sits down with “Creation” lighting designer Daisy Long ’11.
Q: As a lighting designer at Yale, what exactly do you do? Can you describe the process of designing and executing a lighting scheme for a show?
A: The first thing I have to do after reading a script is decide on an approach to the show. That usually involves rereading it multiple times, taking notes, looking for pictures, anything that lets me get an angle on what the show is about and helps me see a way to light it. Once I’ve got a concept, what I do next depends on whether I’m doing Sudler or Dramat. For Dramat shows, because the spaces are larger and I’m using more lights, the process is more involved. If I’m designing an Ex, I have to work with another designer to make one light plot for both shows. That means I have to go into the first meeting with a list of what I want, and we haggle over lights until we get something that we can both work with. Then I have to draft the plot, which takes a while. After that there’s a lot of paperwork to do — I have to document exactly where each light on the plot is and what it does. Once we go into tech, all those lights have to be hung first, then focused — that’s usually about two days. I usually try to make a rough draft of my light cues before we go into cue-to-cue, which helps keep me from shooting myself on Monday night. Then the actors get onstage and I rewrite all my cues because they’re too dark. Then I rewrite them again. After that, I get to rewrite them again. At that point, I’m done and I go to sleep on the floor until strike. Sudler [shows are] easier. … I just put a bunch of squiggles on a piece of paper and make things up as I go.
Q: Any memorable or humorous moments from “Creation” rehearsal?
A: Honestly, I was writing cues the entire time. You could have dropped a bomb onstage and I wouldn’t have noticed.
Q: Even though Josh Silverstein ’10 plays God in “Creation,” do you sometimes feel like God because you make light?
Q: Do you draw inspiration from the work of any other lighting designers? Or from something else in life?
A: I learn something from everyone I work with, and I’ve been lucky enough to work with some really fantastic designers in the past. I’ve been told I should look at fruits and vegetables for inspiration, but I don’t really see either [very often] … I guess I don’t really have a very healthy diet.
Q: Outside of “Creation,” what’s been your favorite experience doing lighting for a show? What made it special?
A: I worked electrics for “Angels in America” last year, and the lighting designer [Joshua Bradford] was basically The Man. I stole the green that he used in that show and put it in “Creation.”
Q: What’s the most annoying thing that cast and crew members do or say to lighting designers?
A: I think people are scared of me. Everyone’s always been very accommodating.