40-45 Spektakel Musical
Painting Darkness with Light for 40-45
Painting With Light had to take a truly 360-degree approach to lighting.
Painting with Light is both a creative and a technical partner of the ambitious new “40-45 Spektakle Musical” production being staged at the Pop-Up Theatre in Puurs, Belgium, by Studio 100 and directed by Frank Van Laecke … which is currently a huge talking and trending point.
Painting with Light’s creative director Luc Peumans is the show’s lighting and video designer, and the scenic video content was also produced by the Genk based visual design practice. The company invested over €350,000 in the purchase of the 10 disguise gx media servers which are wirelessly controlled and delivering the video to eight moving 3.9mm black-faced screens, each 7 metres high and 4.5 metres wide.
40-45’s visceral and emotional story follows a family from Antwerp during the second world war and throws the political machinations and the human impact of war into sharp relief – a scenario with many contemporary parallels that consistently repeats itself throughout history.
During all the initial – extensive - discussions between the creative team, the consensus was that 40-45 needed a dark and intense ambience, and this is the brief to which Luc worked with the lighting design, which was a totally different approach to that of 14-18.
Multiple locations are created all over the 75-metre square ‘field-of-play’ in the theatre utilising the moving video screens plus automated prop wagons - which had an inner circle of 30 square metres.
Lighting for all of these needed to be very tight and precise, and there were very few large overall lighting looks as there had been in 14-18, and black was an important colour for this lighting design.
With the vast stage / floor space and the dynamic movement of the set and scenery pieces, he also had to work creatively with the negative spaces. Sometimes only a part of the screen is used to create a scene … and the rest of it needs to disappear … an added task which needed careful thought and a bit of ‘painting with darkness’ magic!
Then with the 8 seating tribunes all moving around the space … a further development of technology utilised far more straightforwardly in 14-18 so the audience literally see it from every angle in the room … he had to take a truly 360-degree approach to lighting.
So, on top of each scene being individually and darkly lit … the overall lighting scheme was completed in an in-the-round context.
The other aesthetic challenge for lighting was that because of all the moving elements – the 8 massive 20 tonne seating tribunes, the eight imposing video screens plus the two scenery wagons – and their laser guided control system - all lighting instruments, apart from a few practicals, had to be overhead.