Praised by critics for its lively and ingenious interpretation of a classic yarn, the British National Theatre’s rendition of Treasure Island for the winter of 2014/15 is both a dramatic and aesthetic success. Central to the family production’s visual presentation, Martin Professional fixtures were heavily featured in Bruno Poet’s lighting design.
Running at the Olivier Theatre from September 2014 through to April 2015, the production features a set by Lizzie Clachan that takes the audience from a pub in southwest England to Bristol docks, sailing to and finally on the titular island itself. Instrumental in establishing the show’s atmosphere is Poet’s lighting design, which works double-time fulfilling both form and function. His designs accentuate the locations’ drama but also help tell the story by directing the audience where to look in particular scenes. Poet explained:
“I was very keen to use single-directional light sources as often as possible for a very clean look, both in the air with haze and in terms of light and shadow on the stage.”
No stranger to Martin fixtures, Poet deployed MAC Auras on his recent projects for the West End revival of Miss Saigon and Icelandic band Sigur Rós’s world tour, and in the process developed a curiosity for the MAC Quantum Wash. Poet said:
“I’m very keen on using HMI lights and 5Ks, so I was interested in the Quantum as an LED alternative to those kind of sources. While I didn’t think you could really replace tungsten light, I discovered the Aura to be a fantastic improvement on a small discharge source and wanted to see if the MAC Quantum Wash could replace the bigger discharge lights.”
Poet’s preference for tungsten meant that he chose Martin MAC TW1s for lighting the show’s characters and Quantums for a big single source, wide lens look. Meanwhile, Martin MAC Vipers were used for areas where precise light was essential. He said:
“The Olivier stage is fairly big and one MAC Quantum Wash can cover it while retaining a good amount of punch. When it’s on the wide setting you get a lovely 5K-like source and beam in the air. The MAC Quantum’s broad color palette also worked especially well for the night and storm scenes. I see it as a 2.5k HMI replacement with a huge electricity saving as, unlike the HMI, it is drawing very little power when not in use.”
Poet is equally enthusiastic about the Viper fixtures.
“The MAC Viper Wash DX is wonderful because it’s bright enough to cover the whole stage but the internal barn door effect is incredibly useful. There are moments when actors have to sneak onstage from the back without being seen and the internal barn doors help me cut the beam off at a precise place and with a beautiful soft edge. I like their punch, I like the color mixing. In fact, I like everything about the MAC Viper Wash DX. It’s absolutely my favorite discharge wash light at the moment!”
Working alongside the Olivier Theatre’s Lighting Supervisor & Chief Electrician Andy Taylor and Programmer Daniel Haggerty, Poet and his team are more than happy with the choice of Martin fixtures for the show. Poet concluded:
“The MAC TW1 is probably my favorite moving light for illuminating actors, and the MAC Viper DXs and MAC Quantums Washes were great complements to the rig. They gave me the flexibility of different effects for different moments, plus they’re reliable, very light and straightforward to rig. We had to mount a couple of the MAC Quantums in odd positions but the process was easy.”