Tony Award-winning lighting designers Peggy Eisenhauer and Jules Fisher created the extraordinary lighting for Le Rêve at Wynn Las Vegas. Eisenhauer, with Fisher as a special guest, will discuss the lighting for this celebrated aqua spectacular as part of a full-day event at LDI2019: Lighting Design Of A Lifetime: Le Rêve, on Thursday, November 21, in the theatre. Special thanks to Rick Gray and his tech team at Wynn Las Vegas for making this possible, and of course to the designers, who share some insights into their lighting design in this Q&A. If you don’t already have a seat at this once-in-a-lifetime event, which includes a ticket to see Le Rêve, you can still register at www.ldishow.com.
Live Design: How did you and Peggy get involved in lighting a Las Vegas spectacular?
Jules Fisher: I had lit the original MGM Hallelujah Hollywood in 1973, which at that time was the largest spectacle show in Vegas and featured an unknown eight-minute act called Siegfried and Roy. We got a phone call from Rick Gray at the Wynn Hotel asking if we were interested in relighting Le Rêve, which the owner was not happy with. Peggy and I went out to see it, and we both thought this would be a great opportunity for some very special lighting. We have always relished “scale.” We said, “Yes.”
LD: How has the show, and subsequently the lighting, changed over the past 15 years? What went into the most recent update in terms of new gear?
Peggy Eisenhauer: This was one of those rare shows where they wanted it to be the most sophisticated lighting system available at the time and kept up to date and maintained to a high polish. We supplied the design with the best gear we could find that would suit the needs of the show. That lasted for approximately nine years and was beautifully maintained, even though the equipment was aging in place. In 2016, they decided to make a major overhaul, with new music, some new staging, new costumes and of course, punching up the lighting. Since our original light plot had been designed to take maximum advantage of each instrument, particularly in the quality of brightness, any new lighting required additional equipment. So more state-of-the-art gear was brought in! As an example, since more efficient LED fixtures had become available in the last eight years, we added them to light areas that had not been utilized in the original production.
This level of excellence has been the operating philosophy at Le Rêve, and the reason it has been voted the best spectacle production in Vegas year after year.
LD: What are the biggest challenges in lighting a show in the round and with water?
PE & JF: Keeping the light off the audience and conversely out of their eyes. The bounce off the water only exacerbates the above challenge. Also, thinking in the round, compositionally, is a left brain/right brain/north brain/south brain endeavor. Best to think about it as if you are ‘The Creator’ looking down and designing from up there!
LD: Please talk about the use of color and movement in the lighting for Le Rêve.
PE & JF: Color: Restraint. Explosion. Fantasy. Movement: Liquid. Shakespearean. Percussive.
LD: What will you be discussing at the event in the theatre during LDI?
PE: Come join us in the weeds! The Rabbit Hole of the design process! Are you interested in how to create real precision in a design? Le Rêve comes mighty close. Get an understanding of how the designers fit into the massive machine and their creative process, so that when your “design of a lifetime” comes along, you will have a framework to refer to.