Auckland, New Zealand – Vari-Lite’s VL6000 BEAM is being used to provide a powerful retro sparkle for New Zealand’s hit stage show party, Pleasuredome – The Musical.
Lighting designer David Eversfield, whose lighting rig combines original 1980s fixtures with virtual recreations of classic effects, chose the VL6000 BEAMs to act as supercharged pinspots for the show’s iconic, central mirrorball effect.
Presented by executive producer Rob Tapert and directed by Michael Hurst, Pleasuredome - The Musical is an original production which opened in September 2017. An immersive musical experience, it has been widely lauded, declared “utterly immersive and utterly impressive” by the New Zealand Herald. The show draws the audience into a recreation of a seedy 1980s New York street and a nightclub environment, where performers and audience members interact. Big hair, sequined costumes and 80s music characterize this camp and colorful musical show.
Eversfield says, “Entertainment continues to evolve, and it has become increasingly easy for audiences to resort to personal mobile devices or home TV as their primary medium for consuming their world. Hybrid live shows, where you have to be there to experience it, provide a human interaction – an advantage still not available in the digital world.”
In creating the show’s enveloping retro atmosphere, which he describes as “Glittering Chemical Haze”, Eversfield has employed a mix of lighting solutions. Where possible, he sourced original ‘80s era lighting fixtures, but where they were no longer available he employed modern graphics and projection technologies to build custom dynamic video content which could be played back to imitate classic disco lighting effects such as the Moonflower.
Nick Bassett’s production design bridges a highly detailed, immersive New York street scene in the preshow area with a dark, grungy nightclub interior. The inner ‘Pleasuredome’ set is dominated by an iconic central mirrorball, surrounded by iColor Flex LED strings to form a spectacular chandelier.
To make a suitably powerful, glittering impact on this immersive party atmosphere, Eversfield chose VL6000 BEAMs as his spotlights. Floor-mounted, they light upwards to avoid the scenic LED strings around the mirrorball.
“Nestling VL6000s right next to some of the lower seating blocks was a little nerve-racking on the Vectorworks plan,” he says, “but the reality exceeded expectations. The bright, thick beam that comes out of them was ideal for this application. Two VL6000s created a room-changing effect in open white, against a hot, sensual backdrop in red.”
With color playing such a major role in this atmospheric recreation, elsewhere Eversfield specified SL BAR 660 fixtures in his rig. These he chose both for their full color pixel control and for the versatility of their effect options, serving as bright linear washes, blinders or strobes as required. Although low-power fixtures were not a priority for this design, with its need for many older, power-hungry fixtures, Eversfield values the modern attributes of the SL BAR 660.
Eversfield was also able to include a strong retro presence from the Selecon range in his design, in the form of the now discontinued Selecon Pacific profile luminaire. He says, “As a New Zealand project, it would have been inappropriate for us to not include some of New Zealand’s most significant illumination products in the show too. Although discontinued, the Selecon Pacific adds a unique, high CRI front light to the rig, which really assists the discharge and LED sources by bringing out all those extra colours in the costumes.”