Ghost Light
September, 2019
One of the Bay Area’s longest-tenured, most in-demand theatrical photographers, David Allen, offers a peek behind the scenes with Ghost Light, an exhibition featuring witty, outrageous, revealing, and tender looks at more than 20 of the region’s leading actors. Ghost Light is on display at the Aurora Theatre Company Lobby Gallery. The full series of very large photographs is displayed, four at a time, on a rotating basis.

“I have the luckiest job in the theatre world,” says Allen. “When I walk into the theatre for a production photo shoot all the creativeness is waiting to be documented. The split second timing in capturing the moment that illustrates the passion, the drama, the laughter, the energy, the lighting, the wardrobe, the set design and the direction are all set in place.” This exhibit, which takes its name from the single light always left on a stage when the theatre is unoccupied (universally known as the “Ghost Light”), was born from Allen’s passion in recording theatrical moments for the last twenty-five years throughout the Bay Area. “It’s my humble attempt to illustrate a few players in a different light,“ says Allen.

The concept of the project came from Irvin Penn’s forced perspective studio style. In Allen’s series, each actor is illuminated by a single light, and is isolated by a wedge-shaped background upon which he or she has a small stage to portray themselves,each in a different light as it were. The Ghost Light portraits, which were conceived in collaboration with the actors in a “give and take style,” are an expression of Allen’s enduring love for the theatre, the people who bring it to life, and the gifts theatre companies bring to the community with their artistic and often thought-provoking productions. Adds Allen, “I love the lore around the light, as well, and how keeping that light on is believed to ward off bad spirits and other lurkers, so the name of the collection has many meanings for me.”

Image: Amy Resnick, ©David Allen

Aurora Theatre Company
2081 Addison St, Berkeley [map]