Bertolt Brecht was a SuperGenius author, writer and director.
As a radical man of the German theater in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s his influence and style provide us great vision today.
Because Brecht was such nomad and innovator, there were times when he did not have a proper indoor theatre and so he would move outside and light his plays by the moon, stars, and car headlamps.
The illumination of car headlamps on an impromptu stage has confounded many young theatre technicians today.
In Brecht’s text, he would indicate the actors are washed in a “white light” in order to give a harsh and even ghostly appearance of hyper-reality.
Theatre technicians today try to replicate Brecht’s “white light” by using high-intensity lamps or even halogen lights. They want their whites to sear and blind as they believed Brecht’s did — but they are missing Brecht’s point in time and space.
In Brecht’s moment, the whitest possible light was more of an orangy, amber, glow from a car headlamp. In Brecht’s world — in context and meaning — his “white light” then was not our “white light” today.
The lesson in Brecht is that the meaning of “white light” can have several inspirations and definitions throughout time depending upon the technology and the devices of the day; and it is our job as imitative beings to historically recreate the artist’s truest initial intention in all intensities and colors.