The 15,000-seat Epidaurus theatre, designed in the 4th century BC, is known for its symmetry and beauty and marvelled for its exceptional acoustics, which allow the entire audience, regardless of their seat, to perfectly hear a performer's unamplified voice from the stage. Although most ambient noise is absorbed by the limestone construction, it is still important to use equipment that can operate quietly.
Lighting Designer Paule Constable explained, “Clay Paky Alpha Profile 1200 fixtures were used as front light specials placed amongst the crowd, so the low noise was a major consideration. We used the shuttering to pick out elements on the stage with great accuracy. They also proved reliable in extreme heat conditions - it was 40 degrees (104°F) during the day!”
Simon Fraulo, Lighting Operations Manager from the National Theatre of London, was responsible for commissioning the rig used in Epidaurus. Fraulo said, “Alpha Profile were used to boost front of house, which was primarily a house rig with Source 4 profiles. The Alpha Profile were mainly used for specials on the centre stone (God Spot) and shuttered to the ramp and doorways. We made use of the excellent colour mixing and shutter assemblies.”
He continued, “The reason we used the Alpha Profile was that we needed to have absolute reliability. They had to withstand extreme heat during the day, 40°C+ at times. I had never used an Alpha Profile before to light a show, so this was a very interesting exercise and one that was entirely successful. The units were placed in the auditorium, which is acoustically perfect and we hardly heard them at all. During the show members of the public were sitting all around them and we had no complaints. The units were the perfect brightness too, at a distance of 40-50 metres (130-165 feet)."
Sarah Brown was the programmer, controlling the entire rig from an ETC ION console. Philip Hills led the local team for support.
This version of PhÃ¨dre, written by Jean Racine, was translated into muscular free verse by the late Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes. The performance was given four stars by numerous publications, with the Sunday Times stating, 'Outstanding acting, direction and set design bring a classic tragedy powerfully to life.'
Fraulo concluded, ”Would I use the Alpha Profile 1200 units again? Yes! We were all impressed with your product.”
Top: Ruth Negga playing Aricia. Photo: Simon Fraulo
Middle: Stanley Townsend playing Theseus. Photo: Simon Fraulo
Bottom: Daytime view of the Epidaurus Theatre
For more information about Clay Paky products, visit www.claypaky.it.