Astera caught in Comedy of Error(z)
Thursday, 29 August 2019
The Comedy of Error(z) was staged at Basel Opera House (photo: Lucia Hunziker)
Lighting designer Yaron Abulafia was asked by director and choreographer Richard Wherlock to light his new ballet work, The Comedy of Error(z), staged at Basel Opera House (Theater Basel) in Switzerland, which “explores the themes of confusion and misunderstanding directly connected to the realities of digital lives that are also present in Shakespearean comedy”.
The story also contrasted and contextualised the lives of rich and poor in countries that are financially stronger or weaker, throwing out some complex and intense messages for debate and expressing ironies of geo-fiscal imbalance via the captivating mediums of movement, music and light.
Yaron had the venue’s house lighting rig at his disposal which included 40 x Astera AX1 Pixel Tubes.
Ahead of the production, he started researching the available kit and thinking about how to incorporate the AX1s into his design, which led to him also specify 24 x Astera AX3 ‘Lightdrops’ which were purchased by the Opera House specifically for production.
Yaron immediately liked the versatility of the fixtures and the fact they could be run completely wirelessly and fully reliably - via battery power and radio DMX control.
Additionally, the Astera magnetic undersides meant they could be simply and easily clamped directly to a huge metal cage, forming part of an industrial looking scenic piece that was incorporated into designer Bruce French’s set.
“Lighting the set in a specific and flexible way was paramount to the whole production as we needed to create so many different scenes and locations,” stated Yaron, and the essence was to create illusions and trigger images so the audience could switch places and perspectives in their own heads rather than looking at a series of literal set elements.
“The Asteras proved to be stable, powerful and very bright - I didn’t run them at anything like full capacity,” he reveals.
The AX1s and AX3s were programmed into the house Eos lighting console with all the other lights utilised, resulting in over 200 cues for the 90-minute performance.
“It was extremely creatively and technically challenging, but we all achieved our goals in terms of creating an expressive work for audiences to enjoy and interpret,” says Yaron.
(Jim Evans)

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