Challenge Post: Lights and Lifts

When we broke out into breakout rooms in the beginning of October, our group chose to stage the scene on page 142 of Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo where Cypress dances to the familiar music that ends of having been coming from Leroy. Our group was very focused on the lighting choices we could make in order to enhance the scene. We also really wanted to centralize the connection and feeling of home that Cypress and Leroy feel and the moment when Cypress embodies femininity and masculinity while dancing with the shawl and cigar by physically lifting her.

The first lighting choice we wanted to make was the inclusion of spotlights. We imagined the general light to fade into a spotlight on just Cypress amongst the dancing bodies. Then, we wanted to add another spotlight on Leroy, to emphasize and foreshadow their romantic connection. In this scene of Angels in America, (around 8:40) they transition from a general light to a spotlight in a way that I would imagine this scene to: . I imagine the second spotlight on Leroy to fade in the same way. I like how the initial ambience is dark, and although the spotlight is a lot brighter, it doesn’t come in too bright. This strategically forces us to focus on the two characters amongst the other bodies, to emphasize the familiarity amongst the other strangers. This plays into how the characters feel upon being reunited.

The second lighting choice we wanted to make was a change of color as general light is restored post-spotlight. The scene which previously was just a jumble of bodies becomes a reminder of home, and we wanted the light to emphasize that change. We thought that the light could gradually becomes yellower, which would create a happy, welcoming ambiance. In this performance of Aladdin, around minute 33, the stage slowly becomes more yellow after the blue scene between Aladdin and Jasmine . I really like how this is a subtle change, but really allows for a distinction between the two scenes. I think this will help to emphasize the change in the scene.

The last staging choice we wanted to make was during Cypress’ dancing moment where she has both the shawl and cigar. Holding both a feminine and masculine symbol, Cypress is the ruler of her own world. We wanted to emphasize this power by elevating her physically during her dance. I imagined this to be like the famous Defying Gravity scene (6:20): . As Cypress (the actress) must be a great dancer, the dancing in the air could become a super powerful scene. I remember first seeing Wicked and being in awe of the woman floating above me, and I think that this feeling would be really fitting for this moment. Not only does it emphasize Cypress’ empowerment, but it also emphasizes that this is the moment Leroy meets again with Cypress, the moment that begins their romance.

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