Space used to be the final frontier, but not anymore. Forget Hollywood movies like Mission to Mars and Red Planet, opening this month - rather than voyage vicariously through the likes of Val Kilmer and Gary Sinise, you too can blast off into space, courtesy of enterprising TV producers taking reality into new realms.
In Denmark, the space race is being televised as Den Store Mission, or The Big Mission. The winner of a multi-tiered competition, which began airing on TV2 last month, gets a trip aboard the first commercial spacecraft and thus become the first Dane in space. (The US version of this very high concept, from the folks who brought you Survivor, is called Destination Mir, though why a trip to that rickety Soviet-age dinosaur is considered a "prize" is beyond us terrestrials.)
Rocket fuel for the show (devised by TV2 and Jarowskij Danmark A/S with input from Buzz Aldrin, who knows a thing or two about the subject) is provided by Martin Professional's local distributor, Martin Danmark, which has supplied a range of MAC moving heads, including MiniMACs, MX and PAL scanners, and a TrackPod followspot system to TV2 studios in Copenhagen. Mixed in with PAR cans, the luminaires are spread across several stages and incorporated into the lighting scheme at all levels of the show. The LD is Torben Lendorph, with lighting programming completed by Thomas Brockmann.
The show transpires over several levels, each presenting a unique challenge in skills relevant to astronaut training (knowledge, physical skills, teamwork, and mental agility). Contestants are eliminated over the course of several half-hour shows until the finals, in which 10 contestants remain, only to be eliminated one by one till a single space cowboy emerges as the winner. The final elimination process will include a trip to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center, as well as authentic tests used to train astronauts.
Jarowskij and TV2 have signed an agreement with Space Adventures, guaranteeing several seats on its first missions onboard the Space Cruiser. The winner will travel to the official astronaut altitude of 100km (62.1 mi.), high enough to view oceans and continents, and to experience weightlessness. Will a MiniMAC or two make it to the cosmos, too? Stay tuned.
As it turns out, Martin is traveling into even deeper into space - all the way to Planet Transylvania, for the Broadway revival of The Rocky Horror Show, opening this month at Circle in the Square. The company reports that LD Paul Gallo will be using 20 MAC 500s and 20 MAC 600s on what promises to be an out-of-this world production, complete with themed environment impresario David Rockwell's first-ever stage set. Besides all this spacy stuff, we note that Martin gear will also be seen on the Broadway version of The Full Monty - the musical that gives new meaning to the words "strip lights."