Theatre Interview: Pratik Kelkar talks basics of Light Design


Pratik Kelkar is a young light designer, sound designer, drummer and has worked in more than 170 productions.He won the prize for Best Music in Sawaii 2014. He currently works as freelance technician for theatre and cultural events through his group The Articulate Thespians.

Q1.) Introduce basics of light design to Rasa Aur Drama audience?

Pratik Kelkar: Introducing the basics of lighting (stage lighting design) to the audience would be a good thing. Especially if it is done by showing a performance and then explaining the way the lighting was done with the colors used, will give a whole new meaning of the play to the audience.

Q2.) How is focus, fade in and out, sharpness and the placement of lights important in stage light design?

PK: Focus is basically extremely important when you want the audience to concentrate on a particular section or character or even a part of the set in stage lighting design. That restricts the audience from being distracted while something important or emotional or say any part is being played. For example, if you have seen Bhoomika Marathi drama (S.P.College), if the candle wall scene is done using a spot or a section light, the effect of the ghost will not be that much effective. We can see the whole section, the properties in the set and the area wherein the candlelight, we see a restricted area enhancing the effect.

Q3.) Fade in and fade out?

PK: Fade in and Fade out timing, as well as the speed is what (according to me) is responsible for the intensity at which the audience connects with the scene. If the speed is mismatched with the earlier emotion of the scene, the audience instantly disconnects thus breaking the graph. Bhoomika (Marathi Drama ) needs fast blackouts and lights in the first half of the play, but once the lead dies and the last scene opens, the speed needs to be slow and measured keeping in mind the emotional intensity of the scene. It basically depends on the director, what pace he wants the play to be set through the stage lighting design.

Q4.) How do you keep the fade in and fade out smooth?

PK: It entirely depends on the skill of the operator! Somewhat it is also dependent on the machine as if the pulsar is defective it might fail.

Q5.) Is the quality of the output device specific?

PK: Different mixers provide various options. Some have manual compulsory. In some, we can time the fade out and fade in seconds. But finally, it comes to how good the operator is. Talking about gigs, since I also operate music: Gigs have an altogether different set of technique. The light basically is divided into two parts. Face light and ambient light. In gigs and concerts the emotion is not that important (they are usually emoted through lights by using colors of LED).

Pratik Kelkar

"Placement of lights is a mutual call between the director and the designer as well as the venue."

Q6.) What about the placement of lights?

PK: Placement of lights is a mutual call between the director and the designer as well as the venue. If you have seen the MCC play “Party” by Mahesh Elkunchwar, the lighting is all side lighting. That was done mainly because JBS has a low ceiling hence for the lighting is somewhat difficult. We had also use side lighting for our earlier version of “Machine” (Shrikant Bhide was the designer ) but we had a little issue as our actors weren’t accustomed to side lighting and hence couldn’t adjust due to which their faces weren’t visible completely.

Q7.) Any favorite plays for Stage Light Design?

PK: There was one play we used to do “The Conscience”. The design was by Rahul Joglekar but I did a couple of shows when he wasn’t available.

About the Blogger:

Deepak Sinha writes on theatre at My Theatre Cafe and now at Rasa Aur Drama. He loves to cycle and play basketball. He loves to organize TEDx conferences and is an organizer at TEDxPune.

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