More is a one-woman show in a small venue, yet the lighting rig is massive! Why such a big rig for such a small lady?
I'm not just lighting one lady but the territory, physically, that she covers and the territory, physically and emotionally, that she is trying to evoke. If they were going to have her sit in a chair and ask us to “imagine” with her then it would be a different kind of show. As it was, she would change locale in the middle of a sentence and needed the audience to go there with her. I helped that to happen. I was pleased that they allowed me to use a rig that in fact was modest given the number of things it had to do. The nine moving lights enabled me to do a number of “jokes with lights” that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.
Her piece jumped to five different locations in one sentence, so we needed a sense of isolation around her. That's why we used a follow spot. What she wants is the glamour of being famous. There's never a moment when she's nourished by what she's doing. It's not about being an artist; it's about being a celebrity. I had to pitch the moving lights and ended up with nine: four overhead were sidelights, three made gorgeous backlight, and two did funky things on the back wall. When I made the pitch (to the producers), I said that this is what current glamorous shows use. If I didn't press them to make it glamorous, then it would've been my fault if she failed.
What is the best advice you've ever been given?
When I first started as an assistant LD with Jules Fisher, he said we do not comment on other people's departments, good or bad. That way, they can't say anything about us.
What has been the proudest moment in your career?
I think the solution of the lighting problems posed by The Heiress. Director Gerry Guiterrez and I came up with gorgeous solutions.
What inspires you?
Working with really fine artists. LDs are collaborative; we don't do what we do in a vacuum. I love to sit next to a director when you can feel the heat come off of him, or with a scenic designer with a fabulous idea, or costumers who cook up something gorgeous.
What would you do differently?
If I were starting out again, I would be a programmer of moving lights. I love that way of thinking, and I would like to be that precise in my direction, and LDs can no longer do that.
More, designed by Beverly Emmons, portrays the professional journey of actress Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson.