Ryan Whittle in Othello at the National Theatre © Johan Persson
For Jai Morjaria’s Othello set design they were swiftly able to derig the Ultras, relocating them to side trusses in order to create a horseshoe, for use as key backlights and surround the space with high brightness. “We didn’t try to hide the lighting … it was very present on this show,” said Jai. “The Encores did a lot of the shaping and the Ultras were the key and punched through.”
In addition to reconfiguring the standard house rig they implemented their own rig on top. Thus four Ultras and three WRM Encores have been mounted on each side with a further five Ultras and four Encores upstage, with additional heads commissioned from the National’s Resources inventory. “So there is a lot of brightness,” exclaims Jai. “We have every position covered.”
He auditioned successfully for Othello, after his previous Lyttelton show had been admired by director Clint Dyer. On surveying the space the production designer was delighted to discover that the space had converted to an all-LED rig. “It’s a dream situation for a lighting designer to see your rig has been upgraded with a good level of stock, like the MAC Ultras and Encores, and not just cheap alternatives.
The Martin MAC Ultra Performance
“It was the first time I had used Ultra—I’ve never had a theatre to justify a unit of that size and scale previously, and it was absolutely the right fixture.” However, such was its power, he said, he has never been able to run it above 30% “even with multiple gobos.”
As for the Encores, he says, “My preference is always for cold white over warm Encores for this type of show because of its crispness and intense brightness. I find I can actually achieve a better warm with the cold version as you have more options with spectrum intensity.”