Bluebottle rely on ETC Source Four Revolution for Madeleine

Posted on Thursday, February 24th, 2011


Held at North Melbourne Townhall, Black Sequin of Madeleine was written and directed by Jenny Kemp. Madeleine is an exploration of schizophrenia and its effect on a young woman and her family. Madeleine is an intelligent and vibrant young woman who is becoming schizophrenic. Madeleine exposes the uncertain world of mental illness for open contemplation in a poetic reality of emotional depth, dark humour, beauty and horror. This highly researched and deeply moving drama reveals the inside world of a schizophrenic young woman and the traumatic consequences for those around her.

The Lighting Designer for this acclaimed and sensitive production was Ben Cobham of Bluebottle, a design firm that worked collaboratively to achieve the best results.

“Whilst I was the lead designer I had a whole team of talented people working with me including Tom Rogers as Assistant Designer and he produced plans, concept drawings and looked after technical bump in,” explained Ben. “Jen Hector looked after the design realisation plotting the show – she is a long time friend and although not a full time employee, she comes to play from time to time. Frog Peck was Production Manger and Blair Hart was Assistant Production Manager.

“All the people mentioned had input into the final design outcome. The aim of this approach is to provide the best outcome for the show – more heads more ideas, more solutions – we find it works very well.”

The lighting rig consisted of a total of thirty-three fixtures including incandescent strip integrated within the set, standard theatrical fixtures such as profiles, fresnels and a few scrollers and an ETC Source Four Revolution.

“It was a very simple rig which worked hard – a no fat approach which we like at Bluebottle,” said Ben.

As well as the lighting design, Bluebottle undertook the set design for Madeleine. The lighting design was covertly integrated within the minimalist set. The design included a large green marmoleum floor (like one large floor tile from grandma’s house) with a large blonde timber table and six matching stools.

”We used saturated colour shifts to locate time and space,” added Ben. “The floor surface and table top acted as a blank canvas which was manipulated by light. Add green to green for an intense green and lots of reflected green light. Add red to green and the floor moves towards black. When these options are used in the correct order and for the right time frames, the result is very pleasing.”

Crucial to Ben’s lighting design was an all important ETC Source Four Revolution mounted above the large table situated down stage centre.

“The ETC Source Four Revolution was shuttered very tightly,” he said. “We could then use all the functions of this unit to produce several effects including strong colour shifts which were visible during the performance i.e. from red to green we saw the colour swipe from left to right. We also used it to crop particular parts of the table as required and to follow performers from above like an overhead dome. In summary we got one fixture to perform many tasks, lean and mean.”

Ben also liked the fact that the Source Four Revolution was quiet in operation, very important in theatre and particularly a play such as Madeleine.

“Its tungsten based lamp marries into the rig well too,” he commented. “I find the front mounted scroller simple and it allowed us to swipe the table top and keeps colour 100% accurate with other fixtures in the rig. It’s also well priced compared with other units with similar functions. I think this unit could be very useful in FOH position tight shot above and fill the face from the front.

”The Source Four Revolution is like a convention theatrical fixture – such as the Source Four – with added features perfect for theatrical applications.”