UK & Australia – International lighting designer Hartley T A Kemp traversed the globe at the end of 2013 armed with Philips Selecon’s PL range of LED fixtures to light two very different shows – Land of Our Fathers at
Theatre503, London; and Sweet Nothings, at Australian Theatre for Young People’s independent works season Under the Wharf, Sydney.
Hartley – who in addition to his lighting designs for some of the world’s most prestigious companies and productions is Artistic Director of C venues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – utilised Selecon’s PLprofile1s, PLfresnel1s, and PLcyc1s on both shows.
Set in a Welsh coal mine and focusing on miners trapped underground as Margaret Thatcher is elected, Land of Our Fathers is nominated for five Off West End Awards – Best Director, Best Production, Best Set, Best New Play – and Best Lighting.
“We wanted to create a gritty, dark world, based in naturalism, which becomes more heightened as the piece develops,” explains Hartley. “The PL LED units were used to provide a colour underlay to the lighting states, to suggest light glistening off wet rocks, to help convey emotion especially during some of the more hyper-real sequences, and at the end of the piece to suggest the rising waters trapping the miners. The PL LED units were very useful for their quiet running in a small space and their colour-changing abilities, and for the lack of variation in colour temperature at low levels.”
Hartley specified two PLprofile1 and two PLfresnel1 fixtures for the show, performed at London’s Theatre503 – dubbed ‘arguably the most important theatre in Britain today’ by the Guardian.
Heading Down Under, Sweet Nothings is playwright David Harrower’s re-interpretation of Arthur Schnitzler’s play Liebelei, about growing up, love and death in 1890s Vienna. Hartley specified a PLprofile1, a PLfresnel1, two PL1s and four PLcyc1s for the production.
“We used the PL LED units to create the impression of natural light entering the room, as afternoon turned to sunset, twilight and moonlight,” explains Hartley. “Two PL1s were used as head-height front crosslight, the PLprofile1 was used as a low angle front fill, the PLfresnel1 was used as a side front low angle window special, one PLcyc1 was used as toplight, two PLcyc1s were used in the lightbox behind an upstage window and one PLcyc1 was used to wash an upstage doorway and its backing flat.”
The look and feel of each production was very different due to the differences in location between each production, which much lower light levels and greater contrast being used in Land of Our Fathers’ chiaroscuro lighting states, and more of an ethereal feel to the states for Sweet Nothings.
“In terms of brightness, the PL LED units in Land of Our Fathers were used at much lower levels, and balanced with a rig consisting mainly of 50W birdies, while the units in Sweet Nothings were used at a higher level, really proving their worth being used against 650W and 1.2kW units in much brighter states,” says Hartley.
The PLcyc1 LED Luminaire delivers a smooth, even beam and seamless blending of intense washes of colour. It is ideal for cyc lighting, even in tight spaces. Equally effective in the spectrum of the subtle pastel colours as it is in the saturated hues, the PLcyc1 uses LED source technology combined with a properly shaped asymmetrical reflector to deliver consistent light distribution without the need for performance compromising vertical or horizontal spreader lenses.
Similarly the PLfresnel1 LED Luminaire is already renowned for its colour rendering, not only across the colour spectrum but also for its warm and cool whites. The PLfresnel1 delivers an adjustable beam with a soft edge that is easily blended with adjacent beams to provide an even wash across a stage. There are no irritating colour shadows, ensuring these fixtures are ideal for theatre, small studio, and display lighting applications.
And the PLprofile1 LED luminaire is a variable beam profile with precise beam control and pattern projection. An innovative combination of LED source technology and precision optical design means that the PLprofile1 can deliver Philips Selecon’s industry benchmark projection quality in a compact, robust LED luminaire.
“The PLfresnel1, PLprofile1 and PLcyc1 are all LED lighting tools which operate in a familiar way to our industry respected traditional tungsten fixtures, yet benefit from the advantages LED offers including: low power consumption, no lamp replacements, greater creative flexibility through the RGBW light engine and less heat and wasted energy,” explains Philips’ senior sales manager Grant Bales-Smith. “Congratulations to Hartley for using the PL range to such success – and for his Off West End Awards nomination for Land of Our Fathers.”