Diaries of a Young Lighting Designer Part 2

By Zo Haynes
Feb 22, 2016, updated May 5, 2016
 Diaries of a Young Lighting Designer Part 2

Joining us in the Lighting Lounge again is Zo Haynes, a recent college graduate who is keeping us updated on her journey into the world of professional lighting design. Here’s Zo! 

January was crazy!  We came back from holiday break and I had three weeks of tech in a row. During the first week back we teched the world premier of Byhalia, Mississippi at Theatre Works. Theatre Works is a smaller black box space that uses an ETC Element.  It’s a very intimate space, which worked well with this piece. Byhalia was well received by its audiences and we were sold out almost every night. 

                                             American Idiot Musical

During the second week of January, I worked on John’s show, American Idiot. It’s based off of the Green Day album American Idiot and the whole show is this huge crazy rock concert.  The set is a steel structure that goes 24 feet above the deck and 10 feet down into the trap through a hole in the floor. We had to bounce focus some of the fixtures before the set was brought in because they were impossible to reach once the structure was in. I had a lot of fun hanging the fixtures on this one. The set is basically a giant jungle gym, and John wanted strings of icolor flexs running down some of the taller pieces of steel.  Because of how the platforms were set up, I had to get pretty creative on how I got to some of the locations.  However, getting to high or small places is something I do well. 

The third week was tech week for The Other Place, which went up at Circuit theatre. I think this has been one of my favorite designs so far, because I had an idea, found research for it, had an open dialogue with the director and other designers, and the final product turned out how I thought it would. I mean, my designs usually turn out pretty close to my research, but I made some bold choices with color and pattern. The result could have been distracting and unhelpful to the story telling process, but it turned out exactly as I planned and I’ve gotten a lot of praise over the end result. John actually said that he thinks it’s the best thing he’s seen at Circuit.

So, now that we have three shows open, you’d think that things would slow down a little, but this week Playhouse hosted UPTAS (Unified Professional Theatre Auditions). So, this week I set up and helped out the convention wherever I could.  I also had a few interviews as I looked into what I’d be doing next year.  I’m proud of my results, but there is still more I’d like to work on.  I actually set up my webpage this time.  It just took me a year to finally get everything together. 

Today, I got to look at an unhappy Robe 575 AT Spot that we have in inventory. It was supposed to be in American Idiot, but during the tech process, we ended up having to take it down. It wasn’t responding to any commands from the board, and the menu display on the fixture was wigging out. I won’t claim to be an expert on moving lights, but I like taking them apart to see what’s going on and try to fix whatever's bugging the fixture. I was actually able to fix the problem! I’m thinking either one of the IC chips was loose or there was just a piece of fuzz in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It’s very rewarding whenever I can troubleshoot a light and get it to start working again.

My next projects include two designs at Circuit: Pagent and Pinkalicious, and an electrician position for All the Way at Playhouse.  I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

You can read Zo's first article here: Diaries of a Young Lighting Designer



Zo Haynes recently graduated from Georgia Southern University with a Bachelors of Arts in Theatre and a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics. She has received an award for her lighting design for The Clean House at Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. The same design also received the Don Childs Award. Haynes is currently interning with Playhouse on the Square as a lighting intern to further her career.    


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