Design is a huge buzzword these days. Turn on just about any channel you’ll find a different show focusing on designers and what they do – fashion design; interior design; decorating; design on a dime… you get the point. It’s been said a lot in recent economic discussions that design is the engine that will power the US workforce back into a position of prominence. With all of this discussion going on, it’s still unusual to find someone who can actually tell you what a designer does – especially in the world of theatre! We thought this week, we might treat you to a behind the scenes look at what the role of a designer is for a theatrical performance and let you in on some of the tricks of the trade.
Jeromy Hopgood is an assistant professor of Entertainment Design & Technology in the EMU Theatre program. Jeromy, like all of our design faculty at EMU, works professionally in the region. Michigan credits include serving as the resident scenic designer for the Michigan Shakespeare Festival and sound design at the Performance Network Theatre. Before coming the EMU Jeromy worked across the East Coast and Midwest. For our production of The Imaginary Invalid opening this October, he will be the lighting designer. We invited him to blog on the role of a lighting designer and share some experiences with you. (Note: We don't have any images of Jeromy's lighting design for Imaginary Invalid [yet] because TODAY IS CUE TO CUE!!)
(Lighting Design by Jeromy Hopgood for Romeo & Juliet at EMU Theatre)
"Lighting for the stage is multifaceted – your primary function is to create selective visibility (to make certain the audience sees what you want them to) but the job description of any designer is that of a communicator. Stage designers use images and symbols to reinforce the meaning of the script balanced with the director’s interpretation. Unlike actors, directors and playwrights, designers have to get across their ideas without ever opening their mouths or putting down words on a page."
(Scenic Design by Jeromy Hopgood for Reefer Madness at EMU Theatre)
"For Invalid the lighting design is ecclectic. The script is a modern adaptation of the classic Moliere farce. It has some anachronistic moments interspersed throughout including dance numbers, musical breaks and a pretty intense ceremony to close off the play. All of these stand in stark contrast to the world of the play set in Argan’s home (the “realistic” interior). In looking at something like this versatility is the key. We rely on lots of side lighting to give a more theatrical feeling. In addition, since the play jumps from locale to locale, we use lots of colors and textures in the lighting to give the feeling of movement without ever leaving Argan’s house. Not to give away too much, we have a pastoral scene with lots of foliage and greenery that transforms into a do-wop number. It’s going to be lots of fun for everyone. Don’t come expecting to see a textbook presentation of a classic. This is something unique."
Special thanks to Jeromy Hopgood for being a fantastic Guest Blogger. Keep reading for future guests and updates on your FAVORITE Midwest college theatre program! And don't forget to come see Imaginary Invalid opening on October 14. Purchase tickets here.