The role of lighting on stage Lights can be set to cast soft-edged beams, falling on an actor from gentle angles, bathing them in a hazy soft-edged light, or it can be harsh and hard edged, with deep shadows on the floor. The stage may be evenly lit to glow as if under a gentle sun, or lit from one side only, throwing sculpted elements into bas relief. This same sidelight may be coloured to suggest a setting or rising sun, each having differences of colour and tone. A different colour and lower intensity will suggest a cold moon and if you raise the intensity and sweep it across the stage, the same light becomes a searchlight. The placement of lights, their number, angle and type is known as distribution.