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Chao-Yu Tsai MFA Lighting Design alumni Chao-Yu Tsai wins Silver at World Stage Design in Taipei

The UC San Diego Department of Theatre and Dance MFA Lighting Design alumni (2017) Chao-Yu Tsai 蔡詔羽 won Silver at the World Stage Design in Taipei for his lighting design of UCSD’s 2015 production of Eugéne Ionesco’s Rhinoceros. Also nominated for Rhinoceros was MFA Scenic Design alumni (2016) Mingshuo-Raphael Zhao for his scenic design.

World Stage Design (WSD) http://wsd2017.com/news/detail/512 is the first and only designer-based exhibition to showcase and celebrate theatre designs from individual designers. Held every four years, the event celebrates designs from around the globe.

In designing the lighting for this show Tsai focused on the shows tenor as a “suspenseful dark comedy with bite.” Tsai’s lighting concept used “a bold color to create contrast between Berenger and the rhinoceros. I chose a primary green to show the various character transformations into rhinoceros. A follow-spot was used to isolate Berenger with a contrasting blue, as he never turns into a rhinoceros.” One of the challenges of designing for this production, says Tsai was “how to use light to make a small black box theatre appear wider than it actually is. I used sidelight and diagonal backlight to sculpt
everything in this space. I also used exaggerated shadows to emphasize the forced perspective established through the scenic design. This made the space appear wider and more absurd.”

The production staff included Will Detlefsen (Director), Raphael Zhao (Set Designer), Jaymee Ngernwichit (Costumes Designer), Chao-Yu Tsai (Lighting Designer), Steven Leffue (Sound Designer), and Justin Humpres (Projection and Multi-Media Designer).


The cast featured Michael Turner (Bérenger), Lorena Martinez (Daisy), Luis Vega (Jean), Hunter Spangler (Gentleman/ Dudard), Katherine Ko (Housewife/ Mrs. Boeuf), Sarah Gray (Waitress/ Botard), Wylie Simpson (Logician/ Fireman), Caleb Kneip (Café Boss/ Papillon), Hailey Schneider (Grocer Woman/ Firewoman), Leah Bowden (Percussionist/ The Old Man’s Wife) and Steven Leffue (The Old Man).

Performances were held at the Theodore and Adele Shank Theatre in the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Theatre District on UC San Diego’s campus: 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla, CA. November 14-21, 2015.

Chao-Yu Tsai 蔡詔羽 designs lighting environments for theatre, concerts, and magic shows, he recently assisted lighting designer Howell Binkley at La Jolla Playhouse.
His designs have been experienced throughout the United States and Taiwan. In 2012, he graduated from Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan with a BFA in Dept. of Theatre Design & Technology. Lighting Design Credits (United States): Though It May Shift (LD), Native son (LD), HOW TO USE A KNIFE (LD), La Bête (LD), Rhinoceros (LD), Widower (LD), Winter dance (LD), Really Fall (LD), Hollywood (ALD), Golden Boy (ALD), Thesis Works (ALD), Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play (ALD).
Lighting Design Credits (Taiwan): Spring Breeze| Dream Chaser, YaShiKi JoEn- the sound of bondage, Genius Night Magic Show, The Master Of Illusion, Go To The Exit, Black Comedy, No Exit, The Dark Side Of The Moon, Dumb Cucumber, Train Fragments, Dumb Burger, Mad Man Education, Under The Table, Goodbye, 1:11 Love, and Any Place-Any Time.

UC San Diego’s MFA in Design graduate program trains students in the best professional practices of regional and commercial theatre. The design faculty are award-winning working professionals also committed to teaching. The design training program stresses an interaction with the works of many visual artists from a wide range of disciplines.

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