Presented by Just For Laughs and Copa de Oro production companies, Le Petit Roy is a French-language musical based on the timeless repertory of Quebec folk singer Jean-Pierre Ferland. Originating with the script written by stage actor Robert Marien and former journalist Benoit L’Herbier, it starred and was directed by well-known Francophone comedian Serge Postigo.
The set presented a steel prison of 30 cells that remained onstage throughout the entire performance, so it was often up to the lighting and video components, principally designed by LD Matthieu Larivee of Lüz Studio, to keep the action from falling flat. Because of the massive set, there was only 4’of free space to back light a traditional cyc. For that reason, the LD ended up incorporating a video wall comprised of 900 panels of Element Labs’ 15mm Stealth technology, totaling a cyclorama that stood 36’ high and ran 72’ from stage right to stage left with a obvious camber.
The intention was to employ the video wall without using it as a video wall but rather a traditional cyc with some added capabilities. The video wall predominantly featured fixed content, though there were some effects of paint being brushed across a canvas to embody the characters’ passion. So, as Larivee explains, “You’re trying to take people from setting to setting, even though the stage remains the same. For this reason, the video screen had to be very powerful so that it could take over the steel set and make it disappear while it’s still standing there.”
Ruel’s steel design was impressive and beautifully enhanced the action onstage, but Larivee set out to bring warmth to the stage, because, as he explains, “For two-and-a-half hours, it’d be brutal staring at something that cold.” Furthermore, Larivee primarily used the script and tried to avoid being inspired by Ferland’s work for his design. The goal was to focus on the play content and not overpower it with Ferland’s presence. The LD comprised more than 600 cues, which is quite ambitious for a theatre play.
Larivee and director Serge Postigo had worked together previously on several of the comedian’s shows alongside musician Gregory Charles.
The critics were also generally kind to the production, with three of the four major dailies that reviewed the musical actually commenting on the lighting design specifically and the way that it enhances the action onstage without commanding too much (or too little) attention.
1594 St-Denis St.
Montreal, QC H2X 3K2
The Théâtre Saint-Denis is a performance venue located on Montreal’s famed Saint Denis St. It was originally erected as a movie theatre in 1915, though it was repurposed in the 1980s and has since become a performing arts venue exclusively. It hosts programming ranging from musicals and plays through to music concerts and, during the city’s Just For Laughs Festival, numerous stand-up comedy performances.
The theatre is comprised of two primary halls: Théâtre Saint-Denis 1 and Théâtre Saint-Denis 2. Théâtre Saint-Denis 1 seats 2,218 patrons (1,328 on the floor and 890 on the balcony). Théâtre Saint-Denis 2 has 933 seats (665 on the floor and 268 on the balcony).
Just For Laughs, Production
Constance Rozon, Production Manager
Serge Postigo, Director
Patricia Ruel, Set Designer
Matthieu Larivée, Lighting Designer/Programmer
Vincent Lavoie, Assistant Lighting Designer/Programmer
Marie-Christine Dufort, Video Content
32 Philips Vari-Lite VL3500 Spot
56 ETC Source Four PAR Medium 750w
108 ETC Source Four 5°-50°
39 ETC Source Four Drop-In Iris
18 PAR 64 1,000W Narrow
38 Chroma Q Scroller
40 Philips Color Kinetics ColorBlast
3 Robert Juliat Cyrano
8 Philips Strand Castor Fresnel 2kW
9 Altman ZipStrip 4'
4 Altman Pepper 300W
1 MA Lighting grandMA
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