In Act III, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the Danish prince asks the Players to enact “The Murder of Gonzago.” Hamlet provides some additional lines in order to implicate Claudius in the death of the former king. The additional lines depict the murder of Hamlet’s father, which had been revealed by the Ghost in the first act of the play. When Claudius sees the events unfold in front of him, he jumps to his feet and shouts “Give way some light.”
I’ve never played Claudius, but lately, while viewing contemporary films and television shows, I’ve come to appreciate his admonition. For some inexplicable reason, lighting designers and directors have forgotten the fact that films and TV shows seek to play upon not only our sense of hearing, but also our sense of sight. We all are well aware of sound systems that make many films audible from two blocks away, but on too many occasions we are left in the dark when it comes to seeing what’s going on in front of us.