At the time, Bonner had just started his own design company—specializing in architectural, event, and infrastructural lighting-design projects—called Curiome. “Because I was on my own now, I really wanted to make sure that it was going to be as good as it could be with no errors, so that next year, they pick up the phone again and give me a call.” For Bonner, that meant extensive pre-production planning of where to place the lighting—upstage, downstage, from the floor, side, and front—to create the appropriate look and mood for each scene. “If you don’t get it right, if you put a dozen or two lights in the wrong place, you know that it’s going to take several hours for people to make those changes” he says. “So you really want to plan it properly.”
By the time Bonner was boarding his flight to Kuwait, he says his plan was 95% completed—all by using AutoCAD. “AutoCAD was great for planning and dimensioning, to show anyone within the production to see where the proposed lighting would go–including the structures from which the light were to hang from–with precision,” Bonner says.
In Kuwait, the pressure was quickly mounting. “Many in our audience are accustomed to Broadway and London theater plays,” says Michelle Abdo, production designer for the show. “The challenge is undeniably to surpass their expectations year after year, be it in the lighting, the décor, costume design, or the staging.” By the final revision, the lighting drawings included control information, such as IDs and addresses, which made it easy for the lighting technicians to hang lights.