I went to see Phantom of the Opera for Valentines Day. It was first time seeing a show in the theater in over a decade. It was definitely the first I’ve seen since I started to pursue cinematography. I’m going to have to see many more professional shows just to see how much I can absorb from them.
I was Phantom once before and I loved the many, subtle changes to the play. The lighting design and style is more current and as well as a more traditional score, which was more synth heavy last time.
From the beginning the show applied specific color palates. The design and in the opening scene was so specific that I thought to myself “it’s almost like they color graded it.” The color palette was a lot more orange and teal now versus the bright blue 90s nighttime look employed last time.
The other take away I had was learning to enjoy theatrical lighting again. Many of the projects that I work on are so low budget that you are you are forced into a naturalistic approach. Getting time to be in a world where the lighting is entirely dictated by the drama was a real treat.
Its also interesting that there is an equivalent to shot sizes in the staging of a scene. Sometimes they would use only a portion of the stage and others they would use the whole thing to elevate the scale. Rooftop scenes overlooking the city or journeys into the phantoms layer in the underworld of the stage could take up the whole stage from side to side. Meanwhile small one room conversations can take up as little as a quarter of the stage, with use of spotlights guiding your attention. Half rooms constructed with doors could create simultaneous opposing drama in multiple locations.
I’m sure a lot of people reading this that go to theater regularly probably rolling their eyes at this post but it’s interesting to see the foundations of the rules film play out in front of you.