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CAFÉ VARIATIONS: Meet the Lighting Designer

Emerson dramaturgy student Tierra Bonser interviews Brian Scott, Café Variations’ lighting designer.

Brian Scott describes his role as lighting designer as a “visual storyteller with light composition, the purpose of which is to support the way a story is being told as a whole and to acknowledge the importance of smaller stories within it that can be brought out through wide shots or close ups.” Thank goodness this was a phone interview, because I was knocked off my feet momentarily.

I’ve been training as a performer at Emerson for the last four years; though my track has taken me through many production positions and I’ve even worked as a tech for three of those years in the Cabaret student performance space doing basic lighting and sound, I never really connected the real meaning of lighting design in a production. I always humbly acknowledged the importance of this stage element and even was awed by its visual power, but with one fell swoop Scott changed my whole perspective; suddenly he was an active storyteller with as much stage presence as an actor in the space. He said he sees himself as a:

“Visual dramaturg whose job is to develop what the company is finding in rehearsal, but also to develop those parts of the production that I connect with emotionally. I help to craft the world of the play so that things that are important to me are seen, but also I must give the audience openness to see and follow what compels them in the story.”

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