One of the Good Ones at the Pasadena Playhouse (photo: Jeff Lorch)

USA - For the March world premiere of One of the Good Ones at the Pasadena Playhouse in Southern California, lighting designer Jaymi Lee Smith turned to Elation’s new Proteus Odeon LED profile fixture to fulfil a number of lighting roles.

The Odeon, a full-featured 30,000-lumen moving head that houses a variable CRI LED engine, allowed the designer to find the best blend of intensity and colour accuracy to accurately form the onstage lighting while energising the theatre with full-on effects after the final curtain. 

Founded in 1917, Pasadena Playhouse, distinguished as the official State Theatre of California and honoured with the 2023 Regional Theatre Tony Award, stands as one of the nation’s most prolific theatres, having staged thousands of original productions. One of those original plays, One of the Good Ones, which ran from 13 March to 7 April, is a new comedy from Gloria Calderón Kellett that explores racial and generational differences while laying bare our biases and preconceptions in a witty yet heartfelt story.

Award-winning lighting designer Jaymi Lee Smith has designed at some of America’s most prestigious theatres over the last 30 years, including the Pasadena Playhouse, and highlights a couple of special lighting needs for One of the Good Ones. “The production is a realistic comedy. The scenic designer, Tanya Orellana, created a stunning modern house that perfectly reflected the rich history of California’s Mexican roots and displayed the socioeconomic class of the family that lived there.

“While design as a whole needed to gently support this story, and not bring conscious attention to itself, I still wanted the lighting design to help play a character within the play. There were moments when the light needed to match the excited energy on stage, but other moments when the lighting needed to help create tension. These moods needed to be supported within the house but also from the exterior of the home,” she stated.

“I required a strong sunlight source that could change nuanced colour, spread wide enough to cover the windows as a single source, as well as pack a good punch. I also needed quiet fixtures for specials and pick-ups that could blend in well with the rest of the rig.”

Since 2007, Jaymi has held the position of professor of lighting design at the University of California, Irvine, where she also serves as associate dean for student success.

For One of the Good Ones, Jaymi had six Odeon fixtures at her disposal, three used for an upstage window wall with one unit on a ladder offstage left for the main architectural window and front door, plus two units on a downstage truss over the audience used for pick-ups. The Odeon’s internal four-blade framing system was a great benefit in sculpting the beam, the designer said, keeping light where it needed to be and avoiding light spill.

“The framing system worked great,” she said. “Besides framing the windows in back, we also needed to ensure that light stayed off a cyc that ran very close to the main window and door stage left. The set also had two different ceiling overhangs and for most of my pickups we used the framing structure to cut off those pieces.”

The Odeon can play a dual role in a single show, as a high CRI light in one scene and an effect light with high output in the next, a flexibility that was on display at the end of the play when Jaymi had an opportunity to delve deeper into the Odeon’s feature set for a post curtain call moment. Here the designer put the fixtures into “full dance party mode”, repositioning them and unveiling more the full effects package of gobos, colour, prisms, etc.

The world premiere of One of the Good Ones has been universally praised. Jaymi concludes by stating that the Proteus Odeon fixtures were a huge help throughout the performance, delivering consistent performance in virtually every cue.

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