Leading theatre lighting designer Herrick Goldman recently lit a Cape Rep Theatre production of the hit musical “Mamma Mia” and discovered Elation’s ZCL 360 Bar™ moving effect luminaire as a beneficial multi-use lighting tool for theatre, along with the dedicated LED theatrical spot the Artiste DaVinci™.
Although not necessarily regarded as a customary theatre light, Goldman found plenty of applications on the show for the zoomable ZCL series LED batten, which fulfilled multiple roles on the play’s August run at the historic theatre. “The ZCL 360 Bar zooms make that show!” Goldman enthused. “Director Dani Davis and I decided that we could take license with the period piece and utilize the moving lights to their full ability. To begin with they do an iconic narrow-beamed backlight for songs like Super Trouper and also do a great classic audience fly out to button a number. And because of the zoom, they achieved a perfect punchy backlight wash in saturated colors that was a workhorse for the show.”
The Cape Rep Theatre in Brewster, Massachusetts, has what the designer calls a ‘quirky’ pitched barn roof that the pipe grid follows to create a triangle upstage. Placed in a line upstage as backlight on angled grid pipes were six ZCL 360 Bars with two on the deck either side of the stage and two more on a downstage wooden beam that worked as a saturated stage wash from the front or, when tilted all the way around, washed the audience for dance numbers.
Because the fixtures continuously pan as well as tilt, Goldman says he was able to utilize the lowest fixtures to pan and become pipe-end-style sidelight for many of the isolated moments where he washed the left or right side of the set. “We also used them in a shin buster position on the deck,” he says. “When zoomed tightly they put beams in the air and when flooded out they were in a classic low side light position for dance numbers. They also, surprisingly, worked very well as a face light soft light from a short throw position. Simply put, what was intended to be an effect light for the musical numbers turned into a Swiss army knife that we relied on throughout the show.”
The ZCL 360 Bar also includes a number of built in effects that the designer found handy. “While I generally like to write my own effects,” he says, “these gave us a variety and saved us time while teching a show with 27 songs.”
As Mamma Mia takes place on a Greek island, mood generation like sunrise and sunset tonality was important as was warm glow effects and romantic lighting for a wedding scene and other intimate moments. Yet the show is also full of upbeat musical hits like “Dancing Queen” and “Take a Chance on Me,” an assortment of scenes that played to the strength of an intelligent lighting rig.
“At any moment we go from a small book scene to a full on rock show so we needed to make sure all of our bases were covered,” said Goldman, who also accessed the design features in Elation’s Artiste DaVinci LED moving head for many of the looks. According to the designer, many of the show’s musical numbers were solely lit by DaVinci units for facelight, occasionally with a gobo and effect wheel in the mix. He states, “I consider the DaVinci a solid choice for supplemental facelighting to highlight people and punch them out from their surroundings. When I use the DaVinci on faces I take care to massage the color output to match the skin tone of the performer. Usually this involves a small amount of pink and a bit of the variable CTO wheel anywhere from 5% to 15% of each. That said, they work very well to simulate a followspot look and other highlights.”
Photos: Bob Tucker/Focalpoint Studio
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