Creating Daylight In An 11″ Space

By Stan Schwartz

The design team for Clybourne Park, this year’s Tony Award winner for Best Play, had a real problem.

The upstage wall of the set calls for a kitchen window, through which the audience needs to see daylight.  But there were only 11 inches between the back wall of the set and the back wall of the theater!

“Clybourne Park” set on stage at Walter Kerr only has 11″ behind it to create the daylight seen in the upstage window.

Allen Lee Hughes, the lighting designer for the show, here describes how he solved this challenge:

Clybourne Park written by Bruce Norris, is a brilliant sequel to Raisin in the Sun written by Lorraine Hansberry. In Raisin the limited natural light is coming from a single small window.  In Clybourne Park the stage is bright with natural light pouring into the space from multiple sources.”

“In the previous iterations of Clybourne Park (Playwrights Horizons, NYC, Mark Taper Forum, LA) the depth of the stage was not a problem and we used a bounce drop with an Altman 6′-0″ mini zip strip. At the Walter Kerr, as in many of the Broadway houses, depth was restricted. We needed a light source that could be custom made to fit a 57”(L) by 26”(W) window that dimmed smoothly from 0-100% via DMX from the console.  We needed a source that produced between 5300k-5700k(daylight), and something that the electrician could easily maintain given the distance between the window and the back wall.”

Daylight out the window provided by Rosco’s Custom LitePad HO.

“The Rosco High Output LitePad with adjustments hit those requirements successfully. When the LitePad was installed and the production electrician turned the control channel up to full you could hear everyone in the theatre go ‘WOW’. It was a great moment for the lighting design team since we had worked very hard to insure that the LitePad solved the design challenge, and it did so with flying ‘daylight’ colors.”

Allen Lee Hughes Broadway credits include Having Our Say, Mule Bone, and Once on this Island (Tony nomination), K2 (Tony nomination, Outer Critics Circle Award, and Joseph Maharam Award) Strange Interlude (Tony nomination), Accidental Death of an Anarchist, and Quilters. New York credits include designs at the Roundabout Theatre Company, New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, New York Shakespeare Festival, and Lincoln Center Theater and Off-Broadway. He is the recipient of the USITT Distinguished Achievement Award in Lighting Design and the  Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration. Mr. Hughes is the recipient of two Helen Hayes Awards in Washington and has been nominated eight other times.

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Joel Svendsen

About Joel Svendsen

Content Marketing Manager: Joel's Rosco career began in Rosco's Hollywood office in 1999 – first in sales covering the Western US and the Los Angeles Film & Television market, and then as Product Manager for Rosco's Film & Television Products. In that time, his knowledge of Rosco's products and how they're used in each of our marketplaces makes him well suited for bringing the stories in Spectrum to life.