ASL University |
The use of light in the Theater
In a message dated 8/18/2007 9:55:11 P.M. Pacific Daylight
Time, res(at)hawaii.edu writes:
... I was hoping to share some thoughts with you. My
degree is in Anthropology, thus I have been trained to
compare culture. So, of course, for me the juiciest parts of
the lessons concern Deaf Culture. Having read you argue both
sides of a coin and sometimes dismiss the
overzealousness of "The Deaf Cultural Police" I felt
compelled to point this out.
Blinking the lights to get the attention of a crowd has been
utilized by the hearing community since, well, lights were
speaking it was most often used before the implementation of
the annoying, tapping of the microphone gained popularity
(talk about an
offensive attention get-er). But the blinking, or dimming of
lights is still commonly used in the theater to inform the
audience that the
performance will resume shortly.
Though I am not a member of the Deaf Community, I imagine
that this comparison may be an appropriate guidepost to
politely gaining the
attention of a room and valid rebuttal concerning privileges
reserved by the DCP.
Thanks for sharing your "theater" comparison. The key word is
There are parallels between appropriately dimming the lights in
a theater and doing so in a Deaf environment.
1. It should only be done by someone who has been in the
environment a substantial amount of time and therefore has a
knowledge of how to do it "politely." Most theater lighting
operators have spent an outrageous amount of time hanging around
in theaters. They practically live there. They've been part of
the audience many times when other people adjusted the lights to
announce the next act would begin soon. They also respect the
equipment because they know how much it costs and how
"breakable" it tends to be. They are unlikely to abuse the
equipment or their relationship to the cast and staff because
they want to continue in their role.
2. The lights should not be "down" for more than a moment. To
leave the lights off in a theatre when people are standing or
walking in the aisles would be physically dangerous.
3. If being used to communicate "it's time to start the next
act" the lights should not be flashed wildly. But simply
"blinked." The goal is to communicate, not to annoy.
4. Lighting directors only dim the lights when the whole
audience needs to be informed. They do not blink the
overhead lights to get the attention of just a few people. For
getting the attention of a few people they use some other more
Also See: Attention
Getting Techniques (general discussion)
Discourse / Conversation Negotiation Techniques
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