By Laura Nugent
Sometimes I’m not sure if that title refers to the show or to me. I think it depends on the day, because creating an effective lighting design for Spring Awakening—essentially a rock concert set in 1891 Germany, sung by angsty hormonal German schoolchildren—has presented a whole host of challenges for both the Swirnow theater space and for me as a designer.
When I heard that we would be doing the show in thrust, I panicked. I had never worked in thrust before and so I did what all good little Hopkins students do. When in doubt, go to the library. After checking out every single book on lighting design at MSE and through BorrowDirect, I was saddened to discover that only one chapter in all my pounds of books provided any detail on how to light in thrust. Luckily for the Barnstormers, one chapter was enough, and we succeeded in lighting every inch of stage from every angle.
But a clean basic wash in thrust wasn’t enough for me. Little did I know that my difficulties were only beginning, because basic just wouldn’t cut it for this bitch. I wanted to take my Spring Awakening design above and beyond my previous work with the Barnstormers and I could think of just one way to do that, by using tools that had sent designers of the past screaming from Swirnow: Moving lights, which require using the most complex light board on campus.
Nothing at the library could prepare me for this, so I turned to the Hopkins student’s other best friend, YouTube. Ten hours of tutorial videos and more time than I’d like to think about futzing around with the fancy new board later, there are over 200 spectacular light cues unlike anything seen at Hopkins before, just waiting for you when you come to see Spring Awakening. It’s been a long road, but I can now honestly say that I have made this show my bitch.
Shoutout to my main boss bitches Monika, Lizze, and Megan for being the best assistants and board operator a designer could ask for!