Tony Award-winning lighting designer Peter Kaczorowski makes his debut on the faculty of the 2010 Broadway Lighting Master Classes where he will discuss his development as a designer, which was largely through repertory dance (two years of modern dance design at Dance Theatre Workshop, touring with Martha Graham and Lar Lubovitch, among others) and repertory opera (Santa Fe, St. Louis, and Wash DC Kennedy Center), then expanding on how repertory designing allowed him/taught him to become a very specific designer. "Knowing how to lay a strong foundation down in a light plot frees you to be more daring and specific about specific moments. It allows you to contribute in a very detailed way… knowing that if one has to switch gears on a dime as one often must in a commercial situation, you've got a back up plan," Kaczorowski explains. "How the security of a well thought out rig allows you be the kind of designer who walks in with a strong idea, rather than the kind of designer who starts the tech off by asking the director "what would you like to see?" Having an opinion is important.
"I always loved how Robert Edmond Jones in his book The Dramatic Imagination described theatre designers as "artists of occasions." And how every theatrical event—every performance—has its own particular identity and atmosphere. And that it was the designer’s job to be able to perceive that atmosphere and enhance it in any way he/she can."
Kaczorowski will also discuss how to try to glean from directors their intended atmosphere for each production, and how to read the intended atmosphere of the set design and how best the lighting can reveal/enhance that intention. "That means not only understanding the intention... but understanding what is necessary to allow the lighting to achieve the intention," he says. "That is to say, how to lay out the show so the lighting can do the things it needs to do (for example, scrape across a textural wall, be sure there's room to translute a drop, making sure light through the window will hit someone standing down stage center) and to be sure to influence the hang so you can deliver those things.
"Now passing my 30th year in NY as a professional lighting designer, I have come to realize more and more that becoming a designer is a cumulative process. I am still becoming the designer I am. One is not deigned a designer after achieving an undergrad or graduate degree.
There is no formula or time line. It is a process that involves continually learning from other professionals (through internships, assisting and just generally recognizing there are others who know more), by becoming more and more free to express yourself through your work (which means continually learning more about yourself and deciding what you want to say), as well as developing the skills and facility to use lighting tools to express your point of view."