PRG is supplying a 30-way Kinesys automation system for the latest Lionel Richie tour. The Kinesys system was specified for the lengthy UK and European leg of the tour by show designer and LD Chris Medvitz. PRG’s Carol Croft says, “We had been looking at buying a system for a while, and then this came up—so the timing was absolutely right.”

On the Richie tour, the Kinesys system’s Elevation 1+ motor drives are working in conjunction with 28 ½ ton Lodestar JJ vari-speed motors, being controlled by Kinesys Vector software, operated by Blaine Dracup.

The Motors are suspending nine lighting pods, eight of them each contain six Vari*Lites, and the ninth has ten 5K Skypan fixtures. All are hung over the stage, with the Skypan pod directly above the piano riser.

The pods are static during the first half of the show and then start moving extensively for the latter part. The programming begins with basic moves up and down and tilting toward the audience, but by the end of the set, they're swinging around at precarious and seemingly impossible angles.

The Skypan pod is reserved for Richie’s blockbusting hit “Hello,” creating yet another striking look that is completely new to the audience for the encore.

Medvitz explains that their goal was a clean looking show with variety in terms of how the set and lighting are utilized. “Moving elements holding lighting are a good way of accomplishing this, and also efficient budget-wise.” For sightlines, the set had to be open 270º from downstage center, so the pods “create a sense of depth and verticality when needed, whilst also keeping things open when required.”

Vector is the first motion control system that Dracup has operated (he is also a lighting board operator). He comments, “Vector is very good. I went to Kinesys for training and picked it up easily in half a day. The system is quick, very logical, and totally civilized to operate and control.”

During production rehearsals and programming, Dracup was able to give Medvitz, lighting director Joel Young and show director Jeffrey Hornaday all the moves and looks they wanted immediately—a great asset when working against the clock. ”It’s totally commonsensical,” he concludes, “It effectively treats the Elevation drives just like moving lights.”

Kinesys motion control systems are manufactured in the UK and distributed in the Americas by TMB.