LD Herrick Goldman uses flexible ellipsoidal spot for color and white light looks on Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre version of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale
Lighting designer Herrick Goldman used Elation Professional’s color-changing Colour 5 Profile™ LED ellipsoidal spot as part of a large lighting package for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s recent production of Alice in Wonderland. The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s version of Lewis Carroll’s timeless classic ‒ first created in London 20 years ago by a design team at the English National Ballet ‒ ran February 10-19 at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts in Pittsburgh.
“It was a fun challenge to update the work to a much more modern and vibrant aesthetic in collaboration with choreographer Derek Deane,” Goldman commented about his work on the ballet. “When Derek told me he wanted a modern Vegas feel to the show, [Director of Production] Curtis Dunn and I immediately began discussing adding LEDs to the plot. We were able to use 26 Elation Colour 5 Profiles and they were a workhorse of the show.”
Alice in Wonderland is a classical-style story ballet that the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre gave an imaginative, contemporary flair to. Alice’s peculiar escapades give ample opportunity for color and creativity, an appropriate task for an intelligent luminaire with a wide palette of colors like the Colour 5 Profile, which Goldman incorporated into most scenes. He describes his use of color: “Given the desire of the creative team and the themes of Alice in Wonderland we started the Ballet in a naturalistic light and then shifted into ever more saturated colors to enhance the story. The tea party was lit in a golden sunny amber and the Red Queen of course was a saturated blood red.”
He continues, “Set and Costume Designer Sue Blane and the choreographer definitely had strong opinions about the lighting. The costumes are gorgeous and take light so well that being able to put a bright saturated tonality on many of them really had an impact and refreshed the show to their eyes.”
Also does white
The ellipsoidal Colour 5 Profile can emit nearly any color desired from its five-color LED engine but the fixture can also project variable shades of white light, something that Goldman took advantage of. He says at times he utilized other equipment to provide saturated colors from different angles and then used the Colour Profile fixtures to cut through in a clear white light. “I liked the fact that we could achieve a strong Tungsten white or a bluer daylight white from the same fixture,” he said. “Next to the inventory at the Benedum Center, these fixtures stood up very well relative to the intensity of Source4 Lekos and other types of fixtures.” With a high CRI of over 94, light quality from the Colour 5 Profile is also excellent.
Twenty-four Colour 5 Profiles made up three systems of pipe-end side light, four units on each side in three “ins” worth of side light systems. Each fixture was equipped with 19° lenses (19°, 26°, 36° and 50° are available) with R119 diffusion for an even wash across the large Benedum stage from a 32’ trim height. One fixture was used as a downlight gobo effect and one as a shallow backlight to center while one of the units had a gobo rotator and a Rosco prismatic glass gobo with yellows and ambers. “When the LED source shifted behind the dichroic texture the secondary colors really punched through,” Goldman said.
Director of Production Curtis Dunn explains that because the number of available dimmers at the Benedum Center did not easily allow for the integration of redundant lighting systems into the setup, the color-changing flexibility of the Colour 5 Profile proved key. “The Colour Profiles were part of a 500-unit rig but without their color-changing ability the rig would have been much bigger, as large as 600 units,” he said. “Instead of hanging four traditional Source4 fixtures for example we could hang just one Colour Profile. The savings that the color-changing fixture produced was substantial.”
The fact that the Colour 5 Profile is LED-based also played a factor, both because of its power savings characteristics and its ability to dim. “It’s certainly useful to be able to power several fixtures off of one 20-amp circuit,” says Goldman, with Dunn adding, “The Benedum doesn’t have a huge number of dimmers so the ability of the Colour 5 Profile to dim was important.”
During Alice in Wonderland’s two-week run at the Benedum Center there were reportedly no issues with the fixtures which are being considered for the Ballet’s touring package as well.
Choreographer: Derek Deane
Director of Production: Curtis Dunn
Lighting Designer: Herrick Goldman
Associate Lighting Designer: Stacey Boggs
Production Electrician: Kelli Gaertner
Lighting Programmer: Will Dennis