Suddenly, the lights go out, jolting the audience to attention. But as the lights slowly brighten an eager audience is ready for “The Blue Light and Other Stories” to begin. Directed by Cat Gleason, the play was performed at 7:30 p.m. March 13-15, March 18-20 and at 2 p.m. March 16 at the Corner Playhouse. “The Blue Light and Other Stories” consists of multiple fairytale stories strung together and crafted so that you’re inner child comes out and enjoys this mystical world.
As one of the stories ends and the actors walk off stage, another actor pops out of a window to introduce the next scene. But quickly, you realize that window wasn’t always there. “The Blue Light and Other Stories” has a simplistic set at first glace. But throughout the play you discover scenic designers, Jon Drtina and Emily Hauger, created a much more complex design, filled with surprises. The multi-colored boxes making up most of the set can open and close, creating windows that weren’t there a minute ago for the actors to appear in. The set, also, had a section off to the side for the actors to create music throughout the play. Although, this section was out of the way, it was still in an area that the actors can be seen and continue entertaining the audience.
A poor man and a rich man stand at the gates of heaven waiting to be let in, in the story, “A Poor Man in Heaven.” The rich man is wearing a gold robe, one that is often associated with being rich. This gives the audience an immediate vibe that he is very wealthy. This understanding is made even before the character speaks. Costume designer, Shannon Palmer, used stereotypes, like the gold robe, to help create a greater understanding of the characters. Palmer, also, built upon each costume for the different stories. One costume might consist of blue shorts, tights and a yellow top for one of the stories but the time between stories was short and the actors didn’t have time to completely change. So the next time that costume is used a purple jacket will be added to differentiate between stories and characters.
As two actors are on stage acting like geese a light shines from behind the stage creating three giant shadows on the back wall. These shadows are in the shape of geese. Lighting designer, Vincente Williams, worked the light to create these shadows to allow the audience to see things they normally wouldn’t be able to see or experience. The light was also used to help the audience distinguish between the end of one play and the beginning of another. This was done through turning off or dimming the lights for a split second in between the stories. With 12 separate stories and plots combined into one single play, this distinction was necessary.
“The Blue Light and Other Stories” heavily incorporates the use of shadows and lighting into the play. Lighting designer, Vincente Williams, used the lights to create shadows on the back wall to create another dimension in the play. These shadows allowed the audience to see props that were not on stage, turned characters into animals and transport the audience to different locations. Williams also used the lack of lighting to distinguish between stories by turning out the lights or heavily dimming them between each individual story. This allowed the audience a split second warning that the characters and plot were about the change.