Annapolis, MD- The Colonial Players, Inc., an all-volunteer non-profit community theatre organization in its 65th season, recently turned to 4Wall DC for assistance in selecting moving lighting fixtures for their upcoming production of ‘Bay Boy’. The off-beat musical is a mix of gothic horror and big-hearted satire set to a peppy, melodic pop rock score.
The venue The Colonial Players call home in historic downtown Annapolis features an in-the-round experience. While immersing the audience in the full effect of each show, the venue does present very unique challenges to the technical team.
Veteran Lighting Designer Frank Florentine read the script, listened to the music, watched the rehearsals, and determined, “this show screams for follow spots and a rock musical lighting design.” Florentine convinced the set designer, Terry Averill, and the production staff that something like this could be done in CP’s space. “With only twelve feet of clearance, we needed lighting that could both move around our stage as well as hit the cast members from some very tough angles,” said Technical Director Wes Bedsworth.
Florentine’s search led him to Scott Church, Mark Soltesz, and Mark Conners at 4Wall DC who provided demonstrations of a few options before the group settled on the Martin MAC Auras. “Essentially one MAC Aura performs the work of six or more lighting fixtures,” commented Florentine, “all of which would be needed through the show. Having an LED fixture with crisp, programmable colors, variable beam spreads that move all over the stage (just like the cast), not to mention a quiet operating base, was indeed a gift from the angels -- er -- make that 4Wall! Of course, the MACs needed programming and Bedsworth dove into learning our light board’s advanced capabilities well beyond the bounds of a volunteer!”
“Frank initially considered a moving mirror attachment to an ellipsoidal light fixture, but when Mark from 4Wall saw our venue, he was able to demonstrate for us how much more we could accomplish utilizing the MAC Auras,” said Bedsworth.
Once the MACs were setup, Florentine and Bedsworth demonstrated the instruments to the Board of Directors. The Players’ Board posed only one question, “Why rent? Let’s buy!”
This production is the most technically intensive show The Colonial Players has ever tackled. Florentine incorporated the MAC Auras from 4Wall DC to drastically enhance the lighting. Special Effects Designer Keith Norris used a Viper NT fogger from 4Wall to create low-lying fog and smoke effects. The technical team also implemented floating center-stage projections, a simulated fire machine, four other types of LED lighting instruments, moving sound, colored strobes, tent lights, and a mirror ball. All of the technical effects and equipment are controlled by a central computer running QLab linked to an ETC Element lighting console with City Theatrical ShowBaby5 wireless DMX controllers.
With everything in place, the cast and crew are now set to present a greatly enhanced production, the likes of which fans of The Colonial Players haven’t seen before.
‘Bat Boy’ opens March 28th and runs through April 19th. For more information and tickets visit www.thecolonialplayers.org