Happy Monday, folks!
Today’s theatre definition will be ghost light.
A ghost light is a bare bulb in a fixture that is set out on the stage at the end of the night to light the room when everything else is turned off.
The main reason for a ghost light is safety. Theatres are full of hazards in the dark, be that the seating, any steps in the room, the orchestra pit (if it’s up or down there’s the possibillity of falling off the stage into the pit or just off the edge of the pit if it’s up all the way), or set pieces. The ghost light is there to provide light for someone to reach the lighting consol (since there is rarely lighting controls right next to any entrance to the theatre).
Along with the practical reasons for a ghost light, there is also the superstitions that come with a piece like this. I mean, it is called the ghost light afterall.
There is a superstition that every theatre has a ghost (I know every theatre I have so far worked with has a resident ghost). So part of the reason that the ghost light exists is to appease these supernatural beings and give them light when the theatre is otherwise unoccupied. Maybe they want a chance to perform as well. And who are we to refuse (we don’t need any accidents during a performance of our own afterall).
Sidenote: there are a lot of superstitions involved in the theatrical world which I’ll dicuss in the course of this series.
Aside from the superstition, we are all about safety in the theatre. We have enough other opportunities to hurt ourselves (plenty of power tools and hanging really heavy things over our heads) that we don’t want to do the stupid thing and trip over something while we’re trying to turn the lights on.
That’s it for today. Please let me know if this brings up any questions. I will happily answer to the best of my ability/research to find a real answer. Also let me know if there’s a term or phrase you’ve always wondered about related to the theatre (maybe something you heard from a movie or TV show that wasn’t well explained). I’m happy for suggestions of what to discuss.
That’s all for now. Hope everyone has a good week!
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