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Jeff Croiter and Elation Artiste Van Gogh light ‘Cyrano’ in New York City
Lighting designer Jeff Croiter turned to Elation Professional’s Artiste Van Gogh LED wash moving head to light a new musical adaptation of ‘Cyrano’ starring Peter Dinklage at the Daryl Roth Theatre in New York.
The classic tale of unrequited love premiered in November 2019. Separated into five acts, Croiter says he uses the Artiste series fixtures to fulfill a different role in every scene of the play.
Croiter, who has over 25 years of Broadway and off Broadway lighting experience to his credit, used the Van Gogh fixtures from an upstage position as the backlight system, forgoing conventionals or fixed position LED backlight.
“There weren’t a lot of moving lights in the plot so I wanted something with flexibility to be able to move around to use either as wash lights to cover the whole stage or to pinpoint certain moments and as specials. They moved subtlety and either expanded or contracted the space,” he explains.
“‘Cyrano’ is a period piece and not a rock show so I didn’t want to call too much attention to the face of the light. But, all of the lights were exposed so the appearance was important to consider,” Croiter continues. “We used the Fresnel lens because it was essential to me that it look like a theatre light, like a Fresnel.”
‘Cyrano’ played out on a set that was essentially a long rectangle, approximately 40 feet wide but shallow at only 12 feet deep, a space that necessitated the designer to employ the Van Gogh’s framing shutters. “We often had to do both upstage and downstage shutters to frame the light. We wanted the width but framed the light out of the audience and off the set,” he says.
Kept busy throughout the performance, the Van Gogh units were used anywhere from mimicking work lights, daylight through a window, and moonlight through trees to music and dance scenes. In Act 4’s pre-battle scene the were used “all over from specials to dress the scene in a cold, slightly blue austere hue to specials in a dance sequence to pinpoint moments that we wanted to pull out of the scene,” Croiter explains. “They expanded and contracted from full stage backlight and then zoomed small to do a special on someone fighting or dying.” In the play’s final act, a churchyard scene, the fixtures created the amber and gold of a fall sunset.
(Photos: Monique Carboni)
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