Costumes inspire Cats lighting design
Wednesday, 15 January 2020
catsCats at the Brewhouse Theatre (Clayton Jane Photography)
UK - The Taunton Amateur Operatic Society’s costumes for Cats provided the inspiration for Chris Sealy’s lighting design for their production of the musical at the Brewhouse Theatre.
“The costumes were amazing,” explains Sealy. “I was lucky because the cast wore them to the rehearsals. So when I went to watch, I was able to see them in the flesh, which aided me greatly in selecting colours for my lighting. Every cat in the play tells a different story, each with a different feel, and that of course is tied tightly into the different costumes.”
Helping Sealy accent the costumes and enhance the unfolding narrative on stage with light was a collection of six Chauvet Professional Maverick MK2 Profile fixtures supplied by Bright Production Services. Hung on overhead electrics, the 440W LED fixtures were used as as a primary light source.
Adroitly mixing colours, Sealy relied on the fixtures not only to light the play’s memorable characters, but also to bring out the unique personalities that lay within their costumes, using cool whites to accent the tuxedoed Mr. Mistoffolees, casting evocative hues on striped felines, and endowing Rum Rum Tugger with a radiant golden glow.
“The colour rendering capabilities of all my fixtures were especially important,” says Sealy. “Coping with the mood changes in Cats is a challenge. Oftentimes, I would get around this with a colour change, or a shift from front light to side light.
“Basically, all of the Maverick’s many features came into play. I created moods using them as back lights. I used their gobos to add texture to the stage one moment, then called on them to serve as beams the next.”
Also, of great help to Sealy were his colleagues in the production, notably sound technician Dan Hobbs and Joe Rockett of Bright Production Services. “This was a wonderful group to be around,” he says. “We all took great pride in our accomplishment.”
(Jim Evans)

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