Richard Fisher is a lighting designer whose most recent work has been with INTAR’s 2010-2011 New Works Lab productions of Just Don’t Touch Me, Amigoby Fernando Gambaroni and The Leak by Fernanda Coppel. In our Q&A, he tells us about one of his most challenging projects and the director-designer relationship.
Q: Tell us about a project that was especially challenging to you as a designer.
A: The production of Throat that I worked on was produced in a space without any lighting equipment – but we wanted to show the potential for other productions in the same space. Working with the designer and scene designer we developed a found space concept that would let us get by without traditional stage light equipment. For me as a lighting designer it was a return to thinking about what bulb or lamp produced what kind of light and how that could be used. In the end all of the light for the show came from shop lights bought at home depot and table or floor lamps bought at goodwill or taken from my apartment. We were able to borrow a series of portable dimmers and thankfully found a control console. In the end, the space is now used by Intar for their New Works.
Q: Describe the director-designer relationship.
A: As a lighting designer my goal is to support the director’s vision while offering another perspective. I bring my set of experiences to the directors to allow for a collaborative process. The only way this can happen is through open communication and trust. Both director and designer have to be open to the other’s ideas and willing to explore those paths. And this holds true throughout the entire process.
Q: What kind of work inspires you?
A: I’m inspired by work that challenges me – and the audience – to think or to re-evaluate what was believed before. I’m inspired by lighting that doesn’t distract and draw attention to itself.
Richard Fisher’s most recent work has been with INTAR’s 2010-2011 New Works Lab productions of Just Don’t Touch Me, Amigo by Fernando Gambaroni and The Leak by Fernanda Coppel as well as the upcoming HPRL Festival. Additional credits include Exit Cuckoo (nanny in motherland) by Lisa Ramirez and Throat by Mando Alvarado. He has also worked at Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre and The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. As an architectural lighting designer he has been involved in projects that have won IES, IALD, and AL awards; most notably his work on The YAS Hotel has been featured in both national and international publications. Rich was also a member of the design team for The Jerome Robbins Theatre at The Baryshnikov Arts Center, serving as both architectural lighting designer and theatre consultant in the creation of a new space for dance and theatre. He is a proud alum of The Conservatory at Webster University.
Richard Fisher will be speaking at The 2nd Annual Working Theater Directors Salon’s Designer Panel on Friday, April 15th at 7pm at The Studio Theatre at Theatre Row. Admission to all Directors Salon events is FREE, but click here to reserve a spot.