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The Men In Black: Backstage Crew

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at GLT?

We’re taking some time to catch up with some of our technical, construction, and costume staff that contribute to the overall experience at our theatre. These "men in black," also known as the staff that is always behind the curtain, put in countless hours of work to make each show the best that it can be. This week, we caught up with Cory Granner, GLT's Resident Lighting Designer.

What was your first theatre experience?

My first theatre experience was an acting class I took when I was 3 years old. I hardly remember it, but it was the launching pad.

What inspired you to go into lighting?

I was in college; I knew I wanted to do theatre and wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I knew nothing about lighting, but I found myself looking and being curious about the lighting instruments. So, I thought, I'll do that.

What’s the first step of your job for a show?

Read the script. Gotta know the show, or you're going to be in a lot of trouble.

What’s your typical schedule like for a show?

I usually start attending rehearsals about 3 weeks from a show's opening. I watch rehearsal, and figure out what’s happening onstage and in the story. I then start doing preliminary programming, basically a skeleton version of what the final design will be. Then, I'll spend the weekend creating the show, and then tweak it and fine tune it during the following week. I like for the design and programming to be complete by the Tuesday of tech week, the week before the show opens.

What is your favorite part of the job? What is the most challenging part?

Favorite part: Lighting is like painting for me, so I get to paint the scenes in fun, interesting ways. Challenging part: Making the design look different for each scene; not falling on the same look for the whole show. The lights in Hairspray will change 230+ times during the show, which means that the lights are changing on average every 40 seconds. Getting that many moments to look different and unique can be challenging.

What is a common misconception that people have about what you do?

That it is pretty easy and can be done quickly. It takes a lot of hard work, as you solely create a whole story through light, which is easier said than done.

How much does the lighting influence the story telling of a play?

I think lighting can heavily influence the story. It can make the story easier to follow, or give it a whole new edge. There is a saying among lighting designers : “If the lighting is really great and moves the play, most people won't say much about it.” Since the lighting is so wrapped in with the story, acting, and scenery etc. But if it’s bad, that’s when people will talk.

Do you think that people understand the importance of lighting of a show?

I think most people who do theatre understand its importance. I don't know if your average theatregoer understands, but that’s okay. They're just supposed to sit back and enjoy the show.

Who/What inspires you as a designer?

A really good piece of theatre inspires me. There's nothing like a great show to really push you to do your best work.

Catch up with us later in the month for more glimpses behind the scenes at GLT!

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