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Guest Lecture: Kevin Connaughton

As I enter my 3rd week of grad school things are going really well. I thought it was going to be really difficult juggling school with my internship, but it has been working out well so far. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that my class schedule is so compact. I certainly don‘t have a ton of free, but to make sure I have some time to myself to relax, I have had to be strict about working on projects and assignments well before they are do. Time management is definitely a virtue in grad school.

I am starting to get settled in at the Opera finally. The tech for Jenufa, which transferred from the Metropolitan Opera, just finished and will be opening soon. Since that is over, I have a week off before I have to be back. When I get back we will start work on Wagner‘s Ring Cycle and more importantly be working with our new Eos desk. The biggest thing I‘ve learned so far at the Opera is about the collaborative process between everyone.

As far as school goes, Don was out of the country this week and couldn‘t make it back to teach class, so we had Kevin Connaughton fly in as a guest lecturer. He is the Lighting Supervisor for the San Francisco Ballet and discussed how the ballet works, lighting design and answered any questions we wanted to know. I always find it interesting to learn about why other designers got into the industry and what influenced them. The SF Ballet uses a repertory plot with flexible alterations when needed by a designer. It was really enjoyable to see the plot, paper work and magic sheets that Kevin uses. The magic sheets and channeling were the most useful paperwork to study as they have had such a long time to be perfected and really make sense of the plot and theatre space. We also talked a lot about concept statements, which has really helped me in rewriting my own concept statement for my Jitney project due next week.

Coming into this lecture, I wasn‘t really aware of what a Lighting Supervisor was responsible for. It‘s an interesting position because it is a cross between a designer and a professional assistant. Basically, when a new ballet is produced Kevin designs it. If it is a restored piece he is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the original piece, and if there is a guest designer, then he assists them as needed.

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