At the Prithvi Lighting Workshop, participants will get a chance to light up the legendary stage on their own. Sign up for a session with four gurus of light design from the Mumbai stage
"Sometimes the best lighting of all is a power failure." When Douglas Coupland, the Canadian novelist and visual artist, made the comment he was certainly not thinking of theatre. For all our romantic illusions, a power failure still spells doom for most theatrewalas. It's simply a case of no lights, no play.
But rarely is the importance of a brilliant light design recognised by the audience. Some stage light designers even tell us of veteran actors who fail to "take light" on stage and deliver their best lines in darkness, pointlessly. So, the question -- why a workshop on light design? -- has an easy answer -- because it's absolutely essential.
Spot the light
That's the reason why the staff at Prithvi Theatre and four of the best light designers of Indian theatre -- Sunil Shanbag, Hidayat Sami, Arghya Lahiri and Sananda Mukhopadhyaya -- have come together for a the Prithvi Lighting Workshop.
"We want to create a little more awareness about light design and if the workshop get a few more people interested in light design that will be great because there really are too few people who know how to light a stage," says Sami in between rigging lights for a play. Participants of the workshop will get hands-on experience in the light room, with the dimmer board, the lights as well as on the catwalk where the lights are placed.
Get down to brass tacks
Currently, there are barely a few people working on the light design of plays in Mumbai, so creating even a deeper understanding of the role of lights for a production will help. Moreover, the intention is to give groups that wish to debut on the Prithvi stage a chance to understand the technicalities. "There have been many complaints from the staff that newcomers don't know how to respect the equipment. We will also focus on basics like behaviour towards the technical staff," Lahiri points out.
Ultimately, Sami tells us that the idea is to conduct Backstage Etiquette workshops and make the Light Design workshop a regular feature. "This is a beginner's workshop. Eventually, we'll have intermediate and advanced workshops that will, perhaps, deal with the political division behind the placement of a fresnel," says Lahiri, flashing a grin.
On: Today, 9 am to 6 pm
At: Prithvi Theatre, Janki Kutir, Juhu Church Road, Vile Parle (W).
Fees: Rs 1,500 per head