Mavericks accent emotions of Les Misérables
Wednesday, 20 February 2019
lesmiserables1Les Misérables at Scotch College in Melbourne
Australia - Adding impact to a recent production of Les Misérables at Scotch College in Melbourne was a Tom Willis-designed lightshow that featured Chauvet Professional Maverick MK1 Spot fixtures, supplied by Showtools International.
Creating an array of textures and colours on stage with the 350W moving LED fixture, Willis reflected the hope, despair, and unrequited love that marked the relationships between Jean Valjean, Fantine and the story’s other characters.
“This is the second project I did with OSMAD (Old Scotch Music and Drama), the theatre group that performed the musical at the school,” says Willis. “The set I worked with was beautiful, but it actually had very few moving parts, so light became important to help transition from one location to the next - from field, to inn, to water hole etcetera. However, there were many times where location was less important, and my main focus was on the emotional journey of the characters. I used light to effect and support the relationships of the different people through combination of color, texture and focus.”
Willis tended to avoid or minimise saturated colour when lighting Les Misérables, except during the most dramatic scenes. He opted instead to rely on the interplay of warm and cool, as well as subtle shades of colour, to set moods that corresponded to the feelings driving the show’s characters.
“Saturated colour is great and has its place, but it loses impact in a theatrical context when you’re constantly jumping from one primary or secondary colour to the next,” said Willis. “I’d much rather save those saturated colours for moments of high drama or camp. The same goes for texture - less is more in my book. I very rarely focus to a hard edge on a gobo. Dappled light is far more interesting when you can’t quite work out what’s going on. Although, like every rule, there are exceptions to that one too, of course.”
Positioned on the upstage LX, the four Maverick MK1 Spots were critical to providing the aerials and surface textures in Willis’ design. He used the Maverick fixtures with four other moving LED spots to produce shafts of light that cut through the darkness to create dappled light on the stage’s scenic elements, which not only enhanced the realism of the set, but also evoked powerful emotional undertones.
(Jim Evans)

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