Artist o’ the Week: Zach Lewis

4 May
Zach Lewis

UNEXPECTED MAN light board operator Zach Lewis

This week’s AotW spends most of his time on stage; in fact, you may have seen him as the grown-up Patrick Dennis in last season’s AUNTIE MAME. But this time actor Zach Lewis is behind the curtain making magic happen for THE UNEXPECTED MAN.

He joins the production crew as the light board operator running the lights on manual sliders to highlight and respond – LIVE – to the speaking actors on a constantly revolving set. The lights themselves are fixed, but the actors move, which means that Zach is behind the scenes almost like an unseen character in the play, using the sliders like a dj mixin’ tunes! (This is pretty different from what a light board operator typically does, which is to execute a pre-programmed set of fixed lighting cues.)

Here’s what the stage lights look like during the show:

The Unexpected Man

Sally Edmundson and James Belcher in THE UNEXPECTED MAN

The white and airy space complements the surreal nature of the train compartment. In Yasmina Reza’s script, the time and place is indicated as “air. space.” It’s meant to feel like a moment in time, heightening the poetry out of the reality. When each character speaks and moves, we immediately understand we are hearing what is in his/her mind, hearing their internal stories.

The scenic and lighting design (by Kevin Holden) are crafted so the audience won’t notice the design, but will instead focus on the two characters as they take their journey. One patron, at our first Sunday post-show discussion, responded to the question about lights. She said, “I just now thought about that! How do they make that work?”

That’s a good question! Now, let’s take a look backstage as Zach shows us how the magic really happens.

From the booth, we see how this looks on stage.

And here’s a close-up of the mixin’ magic.

He does this constantly throughout the 75-minute show! He is indeed a DJ of Light.

DJ of Light!

Zach’s like this…but with the lights, yo.

Zach is a graduate of Sam Houston State University, and first began working with Stages as a crew member on WALLFLOWER in 2009. Around town, you might have seen him at Obsidian Art Space in Eric James’ POST, in Susan Lori-Parks’ IN THE BLOOD,  Texas Repertory Theatre in BUS STOP or CRIMES OF THE HEART. Up next, this summer look for him in The Landing Theater Company’s production of SMUDGE.

THE UNEXPECTED MAN runs through May 13th. Any questions, comments for the AotW? Post them below!

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