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Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021

Mercer Artist: Annie Fair

Annie Fair first started doing lighting design her sophomore year at Mercer while taking a class on the subject.

The following summer, Professor Scot Mann offered Fair her first paid job as a lighting designer on a production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” he was directing. Since then, Fair has worked with 10 theaters doing stage management, lighting design and assisting with stage combat.

Fair designed the lighting for Mercer Opera’s production of “The Gondoliers” last January. While switching between a children’s performance and an evening performance, she discovered that the light board had deleted all of her cues.

“Normally, you spend about two weeks creating and saving a design into the light board. For this performance, I had to make all of the lighting happen on the spot with a live audience. It was stressful, but I did it, and I received many compliments afterwards about my ability to create something so beautiful even while under stress,” Fair said.

Last summer, Fair worked on a production of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” at Macon Little Theatre. This show involves the main character murdering multiple people and for each time he killed someone, Fair made the lighting on the entire stage turn red.

“On opening night, I sat in the audience and I could tell they had gotten used to the idea that red lighting meant someone was going to die. I had conditioned them to believe this on purpose,” Fair said.  

Marianna Bacallao
Annie Fair calls lighting cues during a show by following along in the script and watching what's happening on stage.

Halfway through the show, Sweeney Todd finally encounters the antagonist, a corrupt judge who ruined his life. He had been wanting to murder the judge the entire show, and he finally got his chance.

“As this scene progressed, I made the lights slowly turn red. I watched the audience around me watching the scene intensely and leaning forward in their seats, anticipating the murder they had been waiting for,” Fair said.

The lighting was almost completely red as the audience anticipated the murder, but at the last moment, he was interrupted by another character. Fair chose to flash the stage with white light.

“The audience reacted as I wanted them to: surprised, confused, and disappointed. They slouched back in their seats; they were so sure that the barber finally had him,” she said. “By using lighting, I was able to involve the audience so deeply in a show that I created in them the same emotions that the barber had onstage.”

Rosie Cooper worked with Fair as master electrician for Mercer Players’ upcoming show “Rhinoceros.”

“Annie is a joy to work with. It’s obvious she puts her heart and soul into her work and won’t stop until everything is perfect,” Cooper said. “I have gained so much from her.”

Fair is graduating this semester and has plans to pursue technical theatre as a career.

“This is my major and I definitely plan on continuing to work in theatre after I graduate,” she said. “I hope to find a job in lighting/electrics or stage management.”


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