Shakespeare 's Time Manipulation Of Light Essays

Shakespeare 's Time Manipulation Of Light Essays

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Even though the lighting could not be manipulated in Shakespeare’s time, he understood
the importance of it and worked with what he had. Shakespeare didn’t always do what was expected, and this was shown in his use of his limited lighting. Nowadays, we can portray nighttime and the audience can still observe the action on stage. In Shakespeare’s time manipulation of light was an impossible task, so instead he welcomed the daylight to go against the nighttime scenes, as in Midsummer Night’s Dream. Much of this play is at night, but the bright daylight gives the play enhanced conflict. The lovers’ treacherous relationships give the play conflict, but the audience also could possibly feel the frustration of the light outside and the supposed darkness in the play. (Graves, 236-237) An instance of Shakespeare using the setting sun to his advantage is recorded by Platter when he watched Julius Caesar, and he came to the conclusion that lighting was just as important as any other element. This is demonstrated when Titinus proclaims, “O setting sun, As in thy red rays thou dost sink to the night, So in his red blood Cassius’ day is set! The sun of Rome is set. Our day is gone.”, Platter records that the sun was literally setting (Spark notes Editors, line 62. Graves, 236). Even though these were two different and rather simple approaches they are nonetheless effective.
Lighting became slightly more complex moving into the 17th century with the use of footlights, lights that are level with an actor’s foot. Introduce on the English stage, the purpose of footlights is to “soften heavy shadows” and to create a “general illumination” of the actor and the stage (“footlights”, 1). Oil lamps, that contained a floating wick, were placed at the f...


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...introduction of the switchboard did just that for lighting. The switchboard made “effective stage lighting” an easier goal to achieve. (Fuchs, 277)
Rollo Gillipsie Williams says a perfect switchboard situation is one where each set of light can have a personal dimmer. This can be very expensive, and some theatres will spend the majority of their budget, that is designated for stage lighting, on the actual lighting equipment (for example, a ton of lights) rather than spending it on a switchboard that has the capacity to operate multiple different light circuits simultaneously. A company can always add more lights and circuits to its stage, but they are basically useless if a nice switchboard is not in use. Multiple dimmer switches can be “utilized for colour blending of different circuits in multicolor lighting equipment to obtain a desired color hue”(Williams, 64).

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