It has been a bit of a challenge to remember exactly what we did last year. I kept pretty good paperwork as far as where lights hung, and what circuits I used. We were also able to recall the show file from the light board so we didn’t have to re-write cues. However I couldn’t remember some of the more complex elements, such as how the scrollers and strobes were addressed or how many DMX universes we used, and whether we used a opto/iso splitter. For those who didn’t follow that last sentence; we use an Ethernet like cable which allows the computerized light board to talk to the dimmers and any “intelligent” lighting fixtures like strobes, scrollers, and moving lights. After a few confusing hours, I figured out what our DMX configuration was. Then it was just a matter of getting all the lights and equipment to work. I had a connector explode in my hand (see picture)Also this is why we re-rigged the overhead pipes this summer!
Also I have had to wrestle with the dimmers. We have had nightly thunderstorms some of which knocked out the power and confused the dimmer racks. The light board has also been a bit glitchy this year. This is one of the drawbacks to a windows based lighting system… it is unnecessarily complex and tends to crash at inopportune times.
For those who haven’t seen the new and improved Bluest Water, we have re-worked the storm sequence, and added a few ensemble moments. Geoff also wanted some of the flashback scenes to intertwine more with the present day scenes. We had previously created clear differences between how the 1969 scenes and the 2009 scenes looked. We retooled the visual language of the show this time to create a new look for these liminal moments. I also redesigned the custom mountain projections that we use in the last scene. These are based on a picture that I took from the AT on top of Blackrock Mountain looking over the Shenandoah Valley.
I recently attended a reading for My Brother’s Knife… and I will say that I am super excited to get started on it. I think it will be an intense project to work on. Stay tuned!
-Resident Lighting Designer Dan Gallagher