[中][ENG] 燈光的舞動和舉止——專訪燈光設計師張國永

Lighting – dancing with the dancers

—An Interview with Lighting Designer Leo Cheung


文:喻汀芷

張國永訪問照 Leo Cheung during interview/攝Photo:舞蹈手札編輯部 dance journal/hk Editorial Team


隨著燈光器材、舞台技術的發展,在舞蹈演出中,能夠利用的元素愈來愈多,形式愈來愈豐富,效果也愈來愈多變。本地資深燈光設計師張國永,結合自己多年來的實踐和教學經驗,分享了在香港舞蹈演出中,燈光設計的技術、概念層面,以及未來的更多可能。


在抽象中尋找著力點


為每一個演出設計燈光的時候,需要遵從不同藝術形式的原則,舞蹈在表演藝術中是獨特的。戲劇中,文本已經是一個最基本的載體;歌劇也有自己固定的音樂與節奏;舞蹈則聚焦於身體、線條,甚至是舞者的臉部等。同時,在一個戲劇演出中,各個崗位的分工十分明確:導演、編劇、演員等,大家圍繞著一個文本開展討論、研究和工作。


而在舞蹈演出中,「當代舞的出發點,有時是一種狀態,一種氛圍,一種印象⋯⋯而這一切,全部來源於編舞腦海中的某個概念。」張國永一針見血地指出為舞蹈演出做燈光設計的難度。舞蹈沒有語言,沒有台詞,沒有說話,一切都要靠身體去表達⋯⋯編舞也常提出一些抽象的描繪和指向,這對年輕的燈光設計師來說,的確存在一定難度。

如何解決這樣的問題?張國永打了一個簡單且詼諧的比喻:「我常常教學生,你們要學會去和編舞『拍拖』,或者『做好朋友』。」比如,當編舞提出「想要藍色」的時候,設計師常常感到難以捉摸。藍色是一種實體?還是一種感覺?燈光的藍色可以是平靜、憂鬱、晴朗、低沉⋯⋯


因此,在創作開始之前,張國永會花時間和編舞相處,了解編舞是一個怎樣的人。「了解他的藝術取向、觀念,認識他的價值觀、用字、看事物的角度、品味⋯⋯在這個過程中,建立創作的默契。」張國永以自己和黎海寧的合作經歷作為例子,唯有了解和溝通,才能建立燈光設計師和編舞的共同語言,減少理解的偏差和困惑,引入藝術上的深入交流,找到自己設計時的突破口和著力點。


用燈光去共舞


在香港,由於各方面的限制,燈光設計長期以來,只是一個演出的工具,承擔技術性和功能性。同時,燈光設計師參與到製作的時間通常較晚,時間緊湊。而到了劇場,入台時間又有限制,燈光卻唯有在劇場才可呈現。「燈光缺少一個在排練室就和演員建立關係的過程。」不似道具、服裝、音響等,這些在排練室已經和舞者同呼同吸過一段時間,而燈光則是在劇場中一個陌生且遙遠的「工具」。


但近年來,這樣的情況得到了改善。「從前燈光只是一種respond(回應),但現在則有機會去create(創作)。」燈光設計可以增強舞蹈演出的視覺效果,也可以通過燈光營造、改變、延伸舞蹈中的空間感,甚至可以成為舞台上一個重要的視覺元素。「燈光可以和舞者一起共舞,你會看到它的能量、感情會一起流動。」


張國永提及自己和鄧樹榮導演合作《泰特斯2.0》,「入台後,我請演員坐在觀眾席,觀察其他演員在聚焦燈光下獨白的狀態,感受面部的每一個細節、表情,如何影響到燈光呈現的效果。」而當演員意識到這一點後,果然,這一場戲的表達截然不同。 「演員需要知道燈光會給予觀眾怎樣的想像。」一個簡單不過的設計,卻為整個演出增色不少。「燈光設計是neutral(中立的),不能用單一formula(程式)去營造它,它只是一種催化劑。」


他回憶起多年前在塔什干的藝術節看的一個演出,由日本和美國的團隊製作,三小時的演出,大都是一些慢動作呈現公園裡的普通場景。特別的是,整場演出只有一個燈光變化。它持續得很緩慢,但卻很微妙,也許燈光很早就開始轉變,但從未產生過一些明顯的效果 。觀眾只有到演出快結束的某一刻才恍然大悟,張國永驚嘆:「演出中的所有東西,不知從何時開始,全部都變了!」這種不著痕跡卻又意義深遠的燈光設計,將演出的內容和概念視覺化,烘托出整個演出的象徵意味。(雖然時間過去了很久,演出的名字也已經模糊,但張國永對這唯一的燈光變化記憶猶新。)他總結到,有些燈光設計和執行點十分簡單,但正因為設計師抓住了作品的核心,又找到了關鍵的時刻,便可以靈活地運用到燈光本身的意藴和內涵,在演出中作對話、解讀、試驗的重要部分。

張國永和黎海寧於《九歌》(2021)的合作 Leo Cheung’s collaboration with Helen Lai on Nine Songs (2021)/攝Photo:Mak Cheong-wai@Moon 9 image(照片由香港舞蹈團提供Photo provided by Hong Kong Dance Company)


創作的生機和餘地


近年科技不斷進步和更新,這一風潮也蔓延到了演藝行業。當我們愈來愈進入碎片化的資訊時代,尋求眼球刺激成為觀眾的某種心理預期,也正因此,科技與藝術的交融次序也發生了轉變,從前多是為了達到某種詩意、藝術的效果而使用技術,但如今,則是為了把某個技術包含在演出中,而非自然而然發生的。


同時,隨著串流媒體的流行,舞蹈演出也會選用更多的新形式:舞蹈影像、網上演出、虛擬實境(VR)等等。張國永指出,這些創作都是完全不同的。「現場演出的燈光設計,是給人眼看的。但新形式的燈光,則是給機器看。」


技術的不斷更迭是急速的,如今香港的燈光設計師愈來愈發現到「空間」和「燈光」兩者的關係。這空間不是指現實的表演場地,而是用燈光去開拓、創造一個空間。這也給予了燈光設計在舞蹈演出中,可以有更多想像和創作的餘地。


結語


張國永在香港演藝學院任教多年,又有各類演出的實踐經驗。他坦言:「燈光設計師需要兼有理性、感性,還必須要學會安排自己的時間、可用的資源。」欣賞和感受一個舞蹈作品,遠比解構一個舞蹈,在燈光設計中更為重要。他鼓勵年輕的燈光設計師們,在時間和探索中沉澱自我,為自己的藝術創作,積累一個發酵的過程。


在這個科技化、全球化的時代,訊息不斷湧來;媒介、傳達、畫面等激增。舞台技術的花樣和技藝也幾何式地增多,張國永的個人經驗和探索,也啟發我們重新梳理,思考舞蹈和設計、意念和燈光、藝術和功能之間的關係。

張國永和黎海寧於《九歌》(2021)的合作 Leo Cheung’s collaboration with Helen Lai on Nine Songs (2021)/攝Photo:Mak Cheong-wai@Moon 9 image(照片由香港舞蹈團提供Photo provided by Hong Kong Dance Company)



Lighting – dancing with the dancers

—An Interview with Lighting Designer Leo Cheung

Text: Yu Tingzhi

Translator: N.Q.


The continuing evolution of lighting equipment and stage technology offers more and more elements to be utilised in dance performances, and the forms and effects are becoming more and more varied. Veteran local lighting designer Leo Cheung shares his years of practical and teaching experience on the technical and conceptual aspects of lighting design for dance performances in Hong Kong, as well as the possibilities for the future.


Finding the focus in abstraction


When designing the lighting for each performance, it is necessary to follow the principles of the art form concerned. Dance is unique in the performing arts: in a play, the script is already the basic carrier; an opera has its own set music and rhythm; whereas dance focuses on the body, the linearity, and even the face of the dancer. In the same way, there is a clear division of labour in a drama performance: director, scriptwriter, actors, etc., all discussing, researching, and working around a script.


In a dance performance, "the starting point of contemporary dance is sometimes a state, an atmosphere, an impression... and it all comes from a concept in the choreographer's mind." Cheung points out how difficult it is to design the lighting for a dance performance. There is no language, no script, no speech, everything has to be expressed by the body... and the choreographer often puts forward abstract descriptions and directions, which can be challenging for a young lighting designer.

How then do you overcome such challenges? Cheung gives a simple and humorous analogy: "I always teach my students that you have to learn to 'date' or 'be good friends with' the choreographer.” For instance, when a choreographer asks for 'blue', the designer often finds the sense elusive. Is blue a substance? Or is it a feeling? The blue of the lighting can be calm, melancholy, sunny, gloomy...


Consequently, before the creation begins Cheung invariably spends time with the choreographer and gets to understand what kind of person he or she is. "I have to know their artistic orientation, concepts, values, their use of words, their perspective, their taste… Through this process, you can build a tacit understanding of the creation.” Cheung cites his own experience working with Helen Lai as an example of how understanding and communication is the only way to establish a common language between the lighting designer and the choreographer, to reduce misunderstandings and confusion, to foster deeper artistic communication, and to find breakthroughs and points of focus for his own designs.


張國永和鄧樹榮於《泰特斯2.0》的合作 Leo Cheung’s collaboration with Tang Shu-wing on Titus 2.0/攝Photo:曾文通Tsang Man-tung(照片由鄧樹榮戲劇工作室提供Photo provided by Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio)


Dancing with the lighting


In Hong Kong, due to various constraints, lighting design has traditionally been a performance tool, assuming a technical and functional role. Lighting designers are often involved in production only at a late stage, and schedules are tight. When it comes to the theatre, there are time constraints to having access to the stage, yet lighting can only be presented in the theatre. "Lighting lacks a relationship with the performers in the rehearsal room,” Cheung notes. Unlike props, costumes, and sound, which the dancers have worked with in the rehearsal room for some period of time, lighting is an unfamiliar and distant 'tool' available only in the theatre.



However, the situation has improved in recent years. "In the past, lighting was just a reaction to the performance, but now it has the opportunity to actively create,” Cheung says. The lighting design can enhance the visual impact of a dance work – it can create, change and extend the sense of space in dance, and become an important visual element on stage. "The lighting can dance with the dancers and you can see its energy and emotion flowing together with theirs.”



Cheung mentions his collaboration with director Tang Shu-wing on Titus 2.0, "When I entered the stage, I asked the actors to sit in the auditorium and observe the monologues of the other actors under the focused lighting, to feel how every detail and every expression of the face affects the presentation of the lighting.” Once the actors understood this, the scene was delivered in a very different way. "The actors needed to know how the lighting might inspire the audience’s imagination." A very simple design that can add a lot to the show. "A lighting design is neutral, you can't create it with a single formula, it's just a catalyst."

張國永和黎海寧於《證言》(2006)的合作 Leo Cheung’s collaboration with Helen Lai on Testimony (2006)/攝 Photo:陳德昌 Ringo Chan(照片由城市當代舞蹈團提供Photo provided by City Contemporary Dance Company)


He recalls a show he watched at a festival in Tashkent many years ago, a three-hour collaborative production between a Japanese group and an American group, depicting mostly slow-motion scenes of everyday life in a park. The special feature was that there was only one lighting change in the whole show. It developed slowly and subtly - perhaps the lighting started to change early on but the effect was not noticeable. It was only at a certain point towards the end of the show that the audience suddenly realised there was a difference. Cheung marvelled: "Everything in the show had changed completely, starting I don't know when, everything!” This unobtrusive yet profound lighting design changed the content and visual concept of the show and heightened the symbolic meaning of the performance. Although a long time has passed, Cheung still remembers this single change in lighting. He concludes that some lighting designs are very simple, but when the designers capture the heart of the piece and find the key moments, they are able to use the lighting's intrinsic meaning and connotation as an important part of the dialogue, interpretation, and experimentation in the performance.



Vibrancy and scope of creativity


As technology has continued to advance and progress in recent years, this trend has also spread to the performing arts industry. As we move more and more into the age of fragmented information, audiences have come to expect visual stimulation and, as a result, the way in which technology is incorporated into art has changed. Whereas previously technology was used to achieve a poetic, artistic effect, nowadays it tends to be included for the sake of including it rather than as part of an organic process.


At the same time, the popularity of streaming media is leading to new forms of dance performance: dance video, online performance, virtual reality (VR) and so on. Cheung points out that all these creations are entirely different. "The lighting in a live performance is designed for the human eye to see. But the new forms of lighting are for machines to see."


Technology is constantly changing at a rapid pace. Lighting designers in Hong Kong are now increasingly aware of the relationship between 'space' and 'light’. Space is not the actual performance venue, but the use of lighting to open up and create a space. This also gives lighting designers more scope for imagination and creativity in dance productions.


Conclusion


Cheung has taught at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts for many years and has practical experience in numerous types of performances. He notes that "Lighting designers need to be both rational and emotional, and must also learn to organise their time and resources”. When creating a lighting design, appreciating and feeling a dance piece is far more important than deconstructing it. He encourages young lighting designers to immerse themselves in time and exploration, and develop their own artistic creation process.


In this age of technology and globalisation, there is a constant influx of information, a proliferation of media, communication, and images. The technology available for stage performances has also increased diametrically. Cheung's personal experiences and explorations inspire us to think again about the relationship between dance and design, ideas and lighting, art and function.

張國永和黎海寧於《創世記》(1998)的合作 Leo Cheung’s collaboration with Helen Lai on In the Beginning (1998)/攝 Photo:陳德昌 Ringo Chan(照片由城市當代舞蹈團提供Photo provided by City Contemporary Dance Company)

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喻汀芷

一個喜歡文字的戲劇學生。

Yu Tingzhi

A drama student who loves writing.



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