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Loving Astera Tonight

Loving Astera Tonight
Loving Astera Tonight

Denmark – Danish lighting designer Sune Verdier used Astera Titan Tubes and AX3 LightDrops as practical and imaginative tools and vital components of his striking lighting scheme for a revival of the popular Danish musical, “Elsk Mig i Nat” (Love Me Tonight), which was produced by the One and Only Musical Teater company.

The show features a full-tilt string of blockbuster Danish chart-topping hits from the 1980s, and first premiered in 2009.

This completely new production of the show was directed by Tomas Agerholm with scenography by Benjamin La Cour. It launched at the Scandic Falconer venue in Copenhagen and then played at the Music Theatre Holstebro and at Vejle Music Theatre over three months. Sune – known for his design style and flair – has worked with Tomas and Benjamin on other projects, and they asked him onboard to light this show.

It was a fun show that needed a flexible approach and to encompass multiple moods and atmospheres, but most importantly, to go with the flow of the scenography, explained Sune, whose first challenge was finding a wireless solution for the mid to upstage keylighting.

The backdrop for the original production was a castle being run as a hotel where a group of friends who played in a band together were meeting up with their ex-lead singer who had left to pursue a successful solo career. To make it contemporary, the cast of this version were transposed to a glamping site, which happened to be a massive marquee ballroom built in the castle’s garden, while the hotel is being renovated. Most of the action took place in this tented venue within the theatre.

The luxury décor included cool lounge furniture, art and artefacts, lanterns, fairy lights, etc, all of it exuding a certain cosiness and warmth. The tented area on stage was eight metres deep and the end, all the sides and the roof – made up of theatrical drapes – flew out or dropped down one by one as the performance progressed, leaving a completely bare stage at the end of the first act apart from the tent pole framework.

All the flying and dropping drapes meant traditional midstage keylighting positions and any cabling in the way were out.

Another challenge was ensuring that no lighting fixtures were visible apart from the central chandelier. So Sune turned to Astera.

“Astera came up really early in the conversation,” he explained, adding that this was due to his many positive experiences using the products for corporate shows, and because the products are readily available on the Danish market, thanks to the proactivity of distributor Light Partner.

Twenty-two Astera Titan Tubes were utilised for the mid and upstage key lighting: three sets of eight with the other two standing by as spares if needed. These were all attached to the back side of the scenic tent poles, initially completely hidden from view to the audience.

It was Sune’s first time using Astera products for a theatre show, and he was “very happy” with the results.

“The quality of the output was ideal, and there was no other way that this part of the stage would have been reachable!” He also appreciated the finesse and elegance of the colours and colour mixing thanks to Astera’s award winning Titan LED engine.

The Titan Tubes were easily fastened to the tent poles and from these positions, once the drapes had dropped and just the skeleton of the tent structure was visible, they could also be revealed themselves as highlighting part of the architecture.

Additionally, 40 small battery-powered light sources were required to internally light 40 lanterns, some held by the cast and others which provided ambience and up lit décor elements and plants in the tent, so Astera AX3s were used for this application.

They were programmed with a very realistic flickering effect that replicated flames brilliantly, and the tiny light source made a big difference in adding extra texturing, detail and dimension to the set and the overall visual picture. Set designer Benjamin had also used the AX3s before, so he was keen to go down this route.

The Astera fixtures together with the other lighting kit was supplied to the production by rental company, Vigso.

Sune programmed and ran lighting himself using a grandMA2 console, and the show ran for three months without a single issue with the Astera products which impressed everyone.

Sune admits he has worked with other ‘similar styled’ wireless products at times but concludes that “nothing comes close to the outstanding quality of light and colours of the Asteras, and their sheer usability in multiple scenarios.”

photos: Miklos Szabo

Loving Astera TonightLoving Astera Tonight

14th October 2022

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