Chauvet lights Geffen Playhouse fundraiser
Thursday, 13 April 2017
geffen2The Geffen Playhouse hosted the 15th annual Backstage at the Geffen fundraiser
USA - Star power was out in force on 19 March, when the Geffen Playhouse hosted the 15th annual Backstage at the Geffen, a fundraiser that benefits the celebrated theatre’s artistic and community outreach programs. Quincy Jones and Mel Brooks were honoured; their awards presented respectively by Barbra Streisand and Rob Reiner. Aisha Tyler of the Emmy-winning CBS programme The Talk was the evening’s host. Bridesmaids director Paul Feig appeared, as did comedians Sarah Silverman and Dave Chappelle.
This star-studded list of honorees and participants notwithstanding, as a charity event, Backstage at the Geffen had to be run with an eye toward controlling operating costs. For lighting supervisor Darren Rezowalli, this meant creating a compact rig that could be set up quickly, yet still deliver the sharp effects and rich colours that such a glamorous evening demanded. A collection of Chauvet Professional fixtures was critical in helping the LA-based designer create the looks he wanted without sacrificing the efficiency he needed.
“The gala typically falls between two mainstage productions, and since it’s a fundraiser, we do not want to do a labour intensive – and costly -- rehang for it,” said Rezowalli. “Our plot for the gala is always heavily influenced by either the incoming or outgoing lighting designs. This can be challenging because the gala uses the full stage, while our designed season productions use very custom configurations. The deck here is trapped. We usually rebuild half the apron for the gala to allow more seats.This calls for us to be creative and turn what we have flying in the air into a couple front light washes.”
Rezowalli brought in six Rogue R2 Wash fixtures, supplied by Three-Phase Productions, for the fundraiser. He credits these fixtures with helping him meet a very tight load-in schedule. “The Rogues are lightweight and have a low power draw for the punchy looks they deliver,” he said. “These qualities greatly aided us during load-in. We just had to drop one AC line and one DMX line to each pipe. Then we daisy chained the fixtures with powerCON jumpers.
“In the morning, as the deck was being rebuilt, we got to work setting up the lighting,” continued Rezowalli. “Meanwhile, the sound crew was eager to get on stage while we were still working. Fortunately, we managed to get the two electrics hung and flown back out in about 30 minutes. This gave us more time for programming the show, and the other crews got to get on with what they needed to do. After the first 30 minutes of hang, it was just me sneaking onstage to call FOH focus while the piano tuner and sound crew did their thing.”
The Rogue R2 Wash fixtures were positioned on overhead line-sets in two rows of three fixtures each. Rezowalli also used four Ovation B-2805FC batten- style RGBA-Lime fixtures, supplied by FP Logistics, to create captivating backdrops during the event.
(Jim Evans)

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