Louise Stickland, The Stage Thu, 2006-08-24 01:00

ROBES DRESS HOMER'S ODYSSEY Robe moving lights played a key role at the Sundial Theatre at Cirencester College for an ambitious production of Homer’s Odyssey which boasted an innovative lighting and set design by Sundial’s technical manager, Andy Webb. The performance was the end of year production by the Sundial Youth Theatre featuring a cast of about 28 students attending various courses at the college. It was directed by Adam Fotheringham. The production saw the Sundial configured into a minimalist stage design with a floor level thrust that came out from the centre of the main stage with seats encircling it at 270 degrees, creating an intimate performance area. The theatre’s permanent stage, a set of steps built onto the front of it and the floor level thrust area were all painted cream, the clearly defined shapes integrated with a set of multi-purpose triangular shaped screens onstage and 10 ‘S’ shaped screens rigged in the ceiling, also all painted in matching cream. The idea with colouring the stage, floor and areas in which the actors were working was to use lighting as a dramatic vehicle to produce most of the scenic and location settings, times of day, mood, ambience and to enhance the main narrative threads. The first fixtures Webb positioned were six Robe Wash 250 XTs around the circle on the floor at the end of the thrust. These were used at a low angle and also entailed all the seats having to be checked in case the audience were blinded by moving lights. Two Robe MS Zoom XTs were placed on the floor either side of the central steps and the other two Wash 250 XTs onstage either side of the large central triangular screen.The rest of the Robe luminaires - six ColorSpot 575ATs and four ColorSpot 575 washes - were hung overhead. With 12 mini stories within the main one, each needed an individual look and feel, which Webb was able to create with lighting, using different colours, intensities, beam angles and shapes. Four of the 575 Spots were rigged on what would have been the front bar onstage, poking through the gaps in the S-shape flats, and were used for much of the rear space illumination. The other two ColorSpot 575 ATs were rigged right at the ‘front’ of the space. Webb worked closely with production manager Gary Bowman on the show, Bowman himself a former Cirencester College Technical Theatre student, now studying at Bristol Old Vic.