There are few who know more about lighting plays than Dennis Parichy, whose career has brought him into close collaboration with giants of American playwriting. His lengthy association with Circle Rep, and its founders Marshall W. Mason and Lanford Wilson, yielded legendary productions like Burn This and Talley's Folly. His collaboration with Athol Fugard was also quite productive, with productions ranging from Scenes from Soweto in 1978 to Valley Song in 1998. He has an Obie Award, a Drama Desk Award, a Drama-Logue Award, three Tony nominations, and today is an educator at Puchase College Conservatory of Theater Arts.
Previous podcast guest Mike Baldassari joined your host for the interview; Mike drafted for and assisted Dennis for several years after moving to New York, including working on Burn This. Dennis is a master of using light to illuminate characters and make statements about their motivations, and he described his process for breaking down and analyzing a script to tell him how to proceed. We also went into detail about some plays he's lit, what he wanted to convey with lighting, and how it was done.
Dennis has also written an amazing lighting design text titled Illuminating The Play; in it, he goes into far more detail about his method for creating lighting, and investigates the entire process from script to cue. As always, thanks for downloading and listening – we'll be back with Part 2 of the interview soon!