By Mark A. Newman
Thrill Me is a simple tale of seduction and murder. What was your inspiration for the show's stark lighting design?
Michael [Rupert, the director] and I spoke a lot about a cold, industrial environment, one with a great deal of flexibility of location and time. I looked a lot at noir films from the 40s and 50s, as well as some from Hitchcock and Hawks. I wanted to evoke dark romanticism in the show so there's a lot of dark/light contrast, a lot of murkiness. With staging and light, we were able to create a lot of tableaux, single images that tell an enormous part of the story.
What is the best professional advice you've ever been given?
Beverly Emmons told me that confidence will go a long way in helping me through some rough situations. She was right; confidence in my own ability to do good work is sometimes the only thing that gets me to the tech table.
What is the worst professional advice you've ever been given?
I'm suspicious of advice that steers me away from working with “monsters.” Often I've worked with directors, producers, and choreographers who have such a reputation, and invariably, I've had wonderful experiences.
Whose work do you admire as a lighting designer and why?
Jennifer Tipton, Stephen Strawbridge, Beverly Emmons, Jules Fisher, Peggy Eisenhauer, and Cindy Limauro. Each has a wonderful style and approach. Scott Zielinski is doing interesting work right now, really breaking some boundaries. I think he's getting away from “representational” design, which is exciting for me. Light is an inherently abstract medium, and I want to explore that further. At this stage in my career, I'd rather be investigating the emotional and intellectual landscape of the material than focusing on “what's the light source?” or “what time of day is it?”
What piece of equipment can you absolutely not live without?
I really love PAR64s, the NSP and VNSP lamps. There's something about their punch I just live for.