Talk by renowned stage, light designer – Kathy Perkins

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Kathy Perkins, a stage and lighting designer delivering a talk on African American women in American Theatre 

The Department of European Studies, Manipal University, hosted a talk by Kathy Perkins, a renowned stage and lighting designer, known to provide her skills and expertise to many Broadway Shows, at the Old Tapmi building here.

Kathy Perkins of African American ethnicity grew up in the southern region of United States and trained to become a professional lighting and set designer. As she progressed through her career, she realized the invisibility of contribution of African-American playwrights, actors, set and costume designers and lighting technicians. Usually, African-Americans were employed in musical or dance performance bits of theatre, but through her research, one can notice the amazing contribution of these people in other facets of theatre.

For a better understanding of her work and functioning of theatrical performance, she informed the audience about the importance of art and aesthetic in each aspect. Perkins personally prefers to work in plays that are either historical or deal with larger social issues as they give her an opportunity to research and understand the themes better. She dwelt on universal trend of women continuing to fall prey to sexism that forces unattainable standards of beauty and demeanour.

In her question-answer session, she spoke about larger concerns of the audience ranging from inter-racial racism, schisms in feminism, the political aspect of aesthetics such as colour-blind casting and the caste system of India.

English writer and translator T P Ashok, who chaired the event, concluded by quoting poets such as Bertolt Brecht, Langston Hughes and Vydehi.