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Q&A: Lighting design fellow Mextly Almeda spent summer conceptualizing new plays for CTC and Latinx Theatre Commons

Who: Mextly Almeda, 23, lighting design fellow.

This summer, she and the other fellows designed the New Play Workshops and assisted on every CTC mainstage production.

Mextly Almeda

Additionally, Almeda traveled to Chicago for a week in July for Latinx Theatre Commons’ Carnaval of New Latinx Work, where she conceptualized the design for Our Dear Dead Drug Lord by Alexis Scheer.

“I took this ‘Heathers’ tone to it with pastels and pinks and purples,” Almeda said, “and it’s set in Miami, so it correlates to Miami sunsets, which is beautiful.”

She also designed lighting for Guadalís del Carmen’s My Father’s Keeper, a new play about the intersection of Afro-Latinx and gay identity.

Almeda describes her style as “sharp” and said she primarily relies on neutral and cool tones.

“I try to be as clean and intentional as possible, using the least amount of lights necessary for any given shot,” she said. “Sculpting is a huge thing for me, making sure that the actors are lit in a way that is beautiful and flattering for themselves on their bodies.”

Where she’s from: Almeda was born in Baja, Mexico, and moved to Los Angeles when she was young. She earned a degree in mathematics from University of California San Diego and is currently in grad school.

Almeda said her knowledge of mathematics comes in handy, but she does not consider the numbers when designing a light plot. “Beams and trigonometry relate completely to where you’ll put a light to get a specific brightness on it or a specific throw,” she said. “I guess it’s easier for me to understand those techniques because of the math background. I don’t think about it actively, but it’s definitely still there.”

First theatrical memory: Although Almeda did not do theater as a child, she said she was heavily involved in dance. Her first theatrical experience came courtesy  of a boy she liked.

“I saw a high school play of The Jungle Book and that was because I had a massive crush on this guy that was going to be in it and ended up not being in it,” Almeda said. “I went to go see it, and he wasn’t even in it, and it was a mess.”

Almeda said she did not discover her love for lighting or the theater community until college.

Proudest theatrical moment: Almeda said she enters each project with specific goals. One of her favorite plays she’s worked on thus far was SERE by playwright Ava Geyer.

“It was challenging because the way she writes is incredible. This woman will give us a script and then the next day have a whole new play and it’s still called SERE,” Almeda said. “She could have had seven plays by the time we finished that process … and each draft of the script was better than the last.”

What she’s listening to: Fleetwood Mac.

“I have their Greatest Hits record playing over and over in my shuffle,” Almeda said.

Favorite food: Almeda enjoys Thai noodles and Mexican tacos.

Dream superpower: Almeda wishes she was an empath.

“I don’t trust anybody’s feelings,” she said. “Reading people’s intentions and feelings is something that I would really like to know just as a human. Maybe that will make me more trusting, or maybe that will make me less trusting.”

Tags : Chautauqua Theater Companylighting design fellowMextly Almeda
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The author Kevin C. Vestal

Kevin Vestal is from Westerville, Ohio, and is a rising senior at Miami University in Ohio, studying journalism and professional writing with a minor in theater. Last summer, he interned for The Florence Newspaper in Italy, and he is excited to cover Chautauqua Theater Company and the Family Entertainment Series for the Daily. An avid thespian, Kevin recently performed on stage in Tartuffe and also has an irrational fear of wrists.

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