A Set Designer’s Perspective
by Arturo Betanzos
|Set design inspiration|
When I get a script, I read it for the fun of the story. I sketch on the margins and start to develop my ideas as I go. Then I read and re-read the script, highlighting props, set pieces and locations. As a set designer, I want audiences to feel like they are transported to a specific atmosphere of time and place. I hope they can see the actors’ transformation and how they adapt to their surroundings (the set).
For Cowboy Versus Samurai, I love the idea of high contrast black silhouettes against a sunset sky. I want the samurai or cowboy shadows to turn into the characters. I want the Wyoming landscape to stretch behind them and disappear as the lights come up, but there will have be a lot of help with lighting to get this to work.
A lighting designer’s job is to help show the director’s vision by helping to create the appropriate mood, tone, environment, and focus with lighting. As with all facets in this collaborative art, it is imperative that the goal of the lighting designer is to serve the production and not make lighting stand out.
|Lighting colors from design presentations|
If lighting for a show is done correctly, no one should notice the lighting on its own. Instead, assuming that all of the departments work together seamlessly, the audience should come away with how great the production was as a whole. That is what I hope the audience comes away with.
In working with Peter Kuo’s vision for Cowboys Versus Samurai, I want to use lighting to help illustrate the vastness of Breakneck, Wyoming and how alone these characters must feel living there, while still keeping this an intimate theatrical experience. The lighting must also be bright, to keep with the often comedic tone of the piece.