HSL Gets the Last Laughs
HSL is supplying lighting for the current Ricky Gervais UK theatre and arena tour, which has been designed by Arturo Ollandini. HSL is once again working with Phil McIntyre Productions, who is promoting the multi-award-winning writer/comedian. HSL's Mike Oates is overseeing the account and comments, "It's great to continue including a healthy spot of comedy in our comprehensive theatre repertoire. It's a very specific genre to light and requires special detail." Operating the show on tour is John Slevin, who's working with Simon "Piggy" Lynch.
The rig features two 56' mid and back trusses and a 40' front one - all pre-rigged, and slightly randomly loaded with PARs and ACLs. There's seven ETC Source Fours on the front truss, six with 26 degree lenses and one with a 19 degree, plus six Robe ColorSpot 1200E ATs.
Ollandini's brief was to create a big, flashy entrance for when Gervais takes the stage, which had to look rock 'n roll. The lighting then settles down to a nice looking "stand-up state," which involves the illumination of five giant letters spelling out R-I-C-K-Y, inlaid with nearly 800 60W clear lightbulbs.
The Robes' flexibility comes into its own. The units are ideal for the high energy entrance, and are then deployed as tab warmers, for set dressing and for colouring the letters. They're also utilized for the opening act which takes place downstage of the front tabs.
The Source Fours are used as key lighting for Gervais and a large Emmy Award replica set piece on stage left. The PAR cans are used for three basic colour washes, and the ones on the back truss for top lighting the R-I-C-K-Y sign. Blue tones from the back and mid trusses are used to illuminate Gervais's main performance area in front of the letters, and six open white PARs on the mid truss are used to complement some of the beamier ACL looks.
The grand entrance is accompanied by billowing clouds of smoke - courtesy of two ZR33s ensconced in the mid truss - and two strings of ACLs on boom arms also kick in, cutting boldly across the stage. HSL is also supplying two Robert Juliat Manon 2.5K followspots and 12 strings of festoon, suspended from the back truss. This was added to lift the general area and eliminate the stage disappearing into a black void at the back. "It's basically the fusion of a few very simple ideas" explains Ollandini "I wanted it to be an amalgam of light entertainment and Las Vegas."
The set of red velour tabs, legs and truss borders was pulled from HSL's drape store, and they also supplied the Doughty tab-track and all the tour's rigging and steels, including that used for the four sound points as well as for the seven lighting points, for which they also supplied motors.
For control, Slevin is using an Avolites Pearl 2004 console. The have two 48-way Avolites ART 2000 touring dimmer racks, one containing a hot power module and three dimmers, and the other four dimmer modules.
"A lot of the gear was already prepped for us when we arrived at HSL's warehouse" says Slevin "Which was great as it was done to HSL's usual exacting standards!" HSL was also asked at the last minute to wire up the R-I-C-K-Y letters, a task accomplished in just three days, and described by Mike Oates as "A great tribute to the patience and diligence of our warehouse teams."