Bob Christen started his career at Chicago's Goodman Theatre in 1972 and is now resident lighting designer/supervisor. Despite his ability to cling onto job security since the Nixon administration, Chisten also freelances with such companies as Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago Opera Theatre, Northlight Theatre as well as on regional, off-Broadway, and London productions. Currently, the LD is prepping for the Goodman's David Mamet Festival next March.
What is the best career advice you've ever received?
Gilbert V. Hemsley, Jr., then a professor at the University of Wisconsin, encouraged me to take a job as assistant electrician at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago
What is the worst career advice you've ever received?
What inspires you creatively?
Movement, i.e. the changing of time and space on stage. Early in my career, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to dance lighting and then later work in dance, primarily with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (originally with Jennifer Tipton). Whether in theatre, dance or opera, dealing with three-dimensional volume as a constantly changing environment is always a challenge.
What piece of equipment can you absolutely not live without?
The ETC Obsession® II. The ability to create layered and multi-part cues is a must. The Obsession does this extremely well.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
Helping to develop the premieres of new works — not necessarily any single production in a 30-year career, but to have had the opportunity to design new plays and dances working with playwrights (Tennessee Williams, David Mamet, Keith Reddin, Rick Cleveland), directors (Frank Galati, David Petrarca, Michael Maggio) and choreographers (Margo Sappington, Lynn Taylor-Corbett, Lou Conte). Along with this is to have designed both a Broadway premiere (The Song of Jacob Zulu) and a London West End premiere (Marvin's Room).