In the spotlight
The Irish Times
12 February 2012
By Brian O'Connell
Three lighting designers are nominated for the best designer lighting category in this year's Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards. One of them is Adam Silverman, the lighting designer for Misterman. Brian O'Connell asked him to speak about his work and the role of lighting design in modern theatre.
Nominated for Misterman, produced by Landmark Productions and Galway Arts Festival
Some shows are easy for all the wrong reason. Misterman was easy for all the right reasons, as we were all on the same page. The performance by Cillian Murphy, the way it was directed by Enda Walsh and the set by Jamie Vartan were all a gift for any lighting designer. We didn't have any big aesthetic conversation about the lighting. It felt to me like it had to be real and natural and it couldn't feel very theatrical. I wanted to have a feeling of the character finding these practical lights. There was not a lot of colour used except the dance scene, and that should have felt real for that space.
I won't do a show unless I can spend time in the rehearsal room. I was around for the last week of rehearsals in London. I guess the architecture of the space dictated what I did with the light and what kind I used.
The lighting needed Cillian to be very precise in his movements. In some scenes, if he was a few feet out in any direction, it would have had a very different look. He is a great collaborator and is interested in what you have to say. I don't think his technical knowledge comes from the fact he has film work behind him. I think it comes from the fact he started out in theatre and he works really hard. He does what needs to be done and keeps working on it until it is exactly the way everyone else wants it. Because of the set, we were constantly messing around and changing and moving things and adjusting it.
In terms of the awards, it is nice to be acknowledged. Not that many people really know what we do. It won't affect me in any way. I worked on shows nominated for other awards and you think there will be a trickledown effect. There usually isn't, but it is still really nice to be recognised.