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Lighting Design

The American Pilot by David Greig



The question of what to do with an American soldier who crash-lands in foreign nation troubled by civil war is asked in several different ways (as well as languages) during The American Pilot.  The Pilot is regarded first in memory, as each of the characters influenced by his arrival deliver monologues.  They stay contained in steep angled pool of light that suggests their inquisition before the audience all while the Pilot exists hazy in their memory.  For the rest of the scenes inside the naturally lit agricultural shed that serves as the Pilot’s home and hospital, he stays in a shaft of sunlight coming though an opening in the roof above him, while the rest of the shed seemingly lit from its two entrances.  The angles are low and cut through the shed.  As day turns slowly to night, a Captain of the rebel force arrives asking hard questions about the Pilot’s true intentions.  Color slowly fades from the sky as the sun goes down, and the shed is plunged into a colder, more dangerous world of shadows and texture.  In the darkest moments of the night, the shed’s only illumination are a few bare light bulbs that give the space more shadow, but more warmth as disaster is momentarily averted through a breakthrough in communication.  In the end, the theatrically realistic lighting turns even more realistic, as the Pilot is savagely rescued via helicopter, which blows a hold in the roof and pierces the space with a single shaft of intense light.  In the end, there is only darkness.

director - Brant Russell

scenic - Sarah Watkins

costumes - Emily Tarleton

lighting - Michael J. Stanfill

2010 - Northwestern University



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