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Sculpture is part of the exhibition, “Light, Sculpture, & Music Orchestration." Credit: Abigail Secker / Lantern Reporter

Theater students to take audiences on a journey of sculpture, music and lighting

Ohio State lighting students take the spotlight in the Department of Theatre’s “Light, Sculpture & Music Orchestration.”

Students in the department’s lighting-design course showcase their work in a series of presentations at the Drake Performance and Event Center beginning Tuesday.

Mary Tarantino, resident lighting designer and professor of theater at OSU, teaches lighting design and said the course is geared toward both undergraduate and graduate theater students studying lighting.

It is just one of many projects that students will be completing over the course of the semester, Tarantino said.

“I provide a sculpture, I provide an environment … I provide (students) with a song, and it’s their job to put those three things together in a dynamic presentation,” Tarantino said. “They have an opportunity to use their skills in lighting, mixed with this piece of music and this piece of sculpture, to create an interesting event that is open for a short presentation to the audience.”

On Tuesday, Josh Poston, a Masters of Fine of Arts candidate in lighting, will be the first of four to present his creation for the production.

Poston has spent multiple weeks creating lighting around a set sculpture and folk singer Dar Williams’ song “We Learned The Sea,” Tarantino said.

“It’s a rhythmic, lyrical piece about the sea, gentle and subtle,” Tarantino said. “That style I chose to best fit with adventures I wanted my graduate student, Josh Poston, to explore.”

The sculpture at the center of Poston’s presentation is a small piece of steel with welds that was given to Tarantino as a gift in the 1980s by the artist, Jeff Boshart. Tarantino said she is using the sculpture as a unifying theme for all four presentations.

Poston said his greatest challenge has been working with the mild nature of the song.

“This (song) is really a soft, melodic piece, and finding a way to justify transitions in the lighting has been the toughest part,” Poston said. “The success has been in the ability to be evocative to the overall mood of the piece.”

Poston said he hopes his presentation leaves audiences with an appreciation for lighting and a critical eye for noticing the work of lighting designers in the future.

“Certainly students are learning in lighting to light actors, or dancers, but light also can have a powerful impact on us in the world,” Tarantino said. “For the audience, (the presentation) is perhaps just awakening that awareness to be more observant about light, theatrically and natural light, in their lives. It’s really about awakening an awareness of the power of light.”

The first of four presentations for “Light, Sculpture & Music Orchestration” will be showcased Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Lighting Studio in the Drake Performance Center.  

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