Pyramids And Pussycats

Egyptian telecom company Orascom marked its 50 millionth subscriber with a celebration at the Pyramids in Giza, where guests were housed in a large tent overlooking the site and entertained by an international cabaret headlined by The Pussycat Dolls.

Italian production company K-events was originally tasked with providing a light and fireworks extravaganza for the evening, but a combination of a very short lead time and delays in getting permits made the fireworks element impossible. Lighting designer Durham Marenghi from Lumitect Limited soon became art director for the event.

Marenghi required dramatic floodlighting of the central Pyramid and powerful aerial effects, so he used 16 Syncrolite SX10K-D units and 12 SXB-8/2 units supplied directly by Syncrolite in Dallas. The SX10K-Ds were placed behind the central Pyramid, while the SXB-8/2s were placed in front to take advantage of their gel scrolls and gobo effects. Further floodlighting of the side of the Pyramids was delivered via Griven Kolorados and supplied by local contractor ProLite and under the direction of lighting designer Baher George.

According to Marenghi, the production encountered several challenges, such as the airfreight being split into two separate flights, though still on one carnet, due to a storm in the Middle East, delaying the release from customs until two days before the event.

“I hope the effects that we achieved will inspire the custodians of this historic site to update their 1960s tourist son-et-lumiere and that Syncrolites will one day have a permanent presence on the skyline of Cairo,” says Marenghi.

Production managers for the event were Fabio Andreini and Jaqueline Marrone, with associate lighting designers Nick Jones and Eneas Mackintosh, both of whom supported Marenghi at the Winter Olympics in Turin. Mike Ansley and Jeffery Smith operated the Syncrolites. Musical content was by Giacomo Carrissimi for K-events, and executive producers were Christel Strohn and Simone Merico.