Evita87 because, well, Evita is the next show and this blog covers 8 and 7 weeks to go…

We’ve been naughty lampies. Back at the beginning we said “we don’t do set design”. We said this because techies with CAD tools and a good understanding of what’s in the stock pile are great at drawing stuff on plans that’s easy to make. It definitely skews things towards “functional” rather than “artistic”; it leads to “structural” more than it leads to “coherent visual look for the show”. It is not our area of expertise – people called “set designers” are widely believed to be better at it. However, the production team doesn’t have one of those, so….

We met with the director to go through some initial thoughts on lighting with 8 weeks to go. The discussion broadened into the set since a rough idea of the space we’re lighting is kinda important. And yes, naughty us, we drew some plans.  Iterated them at 7 weeks to go. And so we turned our attention to what we could work out on the lampie front given what we know already re set. Which is?

It’s not giving too much away to say there’s a raised section at the back of stage and space for dancing in front of it. The upstage part of the raised section may also be home to the band, who we might (TBD) hide behind a cloth at various points. So what is the new ADC lighting rig and remodelled auditorium good for?

Basics. Frontwash. Tentatively assuming we want a ton of sidelight (this being a musical) the frontwash had might as well be straight on. So let’s play with the new Source Four Lustr2’s and see what happens. Immediately we don’t quite understand the bridges. At least not the combination. Bridge 1 naturally does what the old bar zero did quite well – if you want a second layer wash starting upstage of the safety curtain it will do fine – in 26 degree the angles are about right US-DS although ideally you want a bit wider to smoothly wash left-to-right:L2-26.PNGWhat is difficult is that Bridge 2 is so shallow that anything you put on it to light the forestage massively overlaps the next layer. Here’s two layers of 26 degree units in section – with layer two tweaked upstage to meet the front of the deck. What you see is that L1 also reaches the front of the deck.26 both bridges.PNGA bit more experimenting says that to span the width of the forestage right to the corners in Lustr says we need three 36 degree units, or five 19 degree units, from Bridge 2. The 19s work better in terms of overlap. There is no plan to use Lustr as frontwash – no reason we would waste decent colour-changing units on frontwash – however, given the lens pile is restricted (8 of 19, 26, 36 degree) then it is useful to know that eight 19 degree units (5 making layer 1 wash from bridge 2 and 3 forming layer 2 from bridge 1) would work if they were leftover. So three RJ614 will do the whole stage from bridge 2, and reach the corners, and they zoom so we can get the angles right, and having set them up to cover the width they will stretch back to the deck as well. They won’t be desperately bright, but we don’t need them to be, and it means we will run them closer to full brightness and get a better colour temperature from them. This may change pending rehearsals if we need to be more selective with the frontwash but it’ll do for now. We did try a zillion other things with the Lustr – too many to list here – but nothing seemed to quite work for us. Fans from either side didn’t seem to help.

Important stuff. Sidelight. Pairing a 26 and 36 degree Lustr to do the sidelight seems obvious (that’s my ballet brain talking) and seems to work. So the 8-of-each-lenses do forestage, downstage, midstage, and maybe deck. Hard to say without a sidemasking plan. And with the question hanging over the cloth it’s possible we need to split things US/DS of the cloth to cover the band deck. Hiring lenses for the nominally leftover 19 degree units is an option.sidelx.PNGA pile of Lustrs doing sidelight suggests a new option – can the ColorSource PAR (normally a shoe in for sidelight) do backlight? With the round lenses there are issues. You end up with only three units to cover the width – and a non-sensible overlap – but upstage-downstage this barndoor-free unit will dribble all over the front of the auditorium – and not be desperately punchy at the same time. The oblong lens suggests four on a bar and three bars will cover stage nicely and with a bit more punch.

One thing we’re fairly sure of is that the show will want one or potentially several followspots. Having seen them used from bridge two in recent shows they look really good – no daft beam the length of the auditorium lighting up the haze/dust, and about the right steepness. However, there’s a catch. We don’t yet know if we’ll need to followspot on the deck – an issue because you can’t. From the Lx Box a spot can light a 6′ person stood on 6′ deck (the prosc. height being 12’5″) and this gets worse the further upstage you get. The new bridges make this slightly worse. But from the bridges it’s basically not possible to spot someone on deck – they’re similar in height to the lx box spot, closer to the stage, and from bridge 2 bridge 1 gets in the way as well. Perhaps we throw some moving lights at the problem.

Some experimenting

So for what we know we have some sketchy thoughts to cover off the basics in terms of washing the stage. It leaves a ton of TBDs – mainly around having pencilled in all of a given type of unit and then needing more to deal with the deck or band. For Lustr we might hire lenses, for ColorSource it’s not an easy hire option (a different type of unit being colour matching pain at least). And the new rig? Partially working for us (it’s progress that all bar three of the units we’ve mentioned are colour-changing) and partially a source of worry (bridge 2 angles are shallow, the lens pile is restrictive, would be great if there were some punchy LED fresnels with barndoors). Who knows we might rip up everything I’ve written here as more detail emerges – and experience says the first time you light a new rig or venue is always the hardest.

It’s a start. I’ve done all the procrastination things. There’s a wyg model with 27 blank scenes, a load of side-masking and top-masking drawn just waiting to be dropped into place, and some tentative lx bars.  The rest is pending on blocking, run-throughts and set.

As I write this it’s Sunday – 6 weeks from now we’re in the get-in. More news as the situation develops…

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