There are eight main functions and qualities of stage lighting:
- Visibility: If the audience can’t see the actors, everything else the lighting designer does is a waste of time.
- Mood: (or “atmosphere”): “Mood” is the evocation in the audience of the appropriate emotion. Many designers err in paying attention to mood to the point where visibility is sacrificed.
- Composition: The act of painting a picture, in this case, with light.
- Plausibility: Sometimes called “realism”, but that’s not always accurate, since not all plays – and certainly very few ballets, modern dance pieces, and operas – are realistic.
- Reinforcement: What are we reinforcing? Everything.
- Reinforcing the playwright’s text and reinforcing the work of the set and costume designers.
- Revelation of Form: Determine the level of 3-dimensionality you want the audience to see. .
- Punctuation: The blackout at the end of a climactic musical number.
- Telling the Story: Advancing the narrative, through the use of the other seven functions.