Lux Et Veritas, the motto of Yale University translates into ” Light and Truth.” Although “truth” may be hard to pin down, there was no doubt about the light (and unbridled imagination!) that were in the air recently when Pigeons Playing Ping Pong and Eggy took the stage at the Westville Music Bowl, a new entertainment venue opened this May at a converted tennis stadium on the Ivy League school’s campus.
Lighting designers Manny Newman for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong and Peter Spadaro III for opening act Eggy unleashed a torrent of dynamic looks, taking advantage of the high (over 30′) stage roof to shower their clients with immersive washes and moving gobos one moment, then transitioning into bright aerials and immersive audience lighting the next.
“There was such a diverse range of looks that it’s difficult to describe it in a few words,” said Newman, who designed and built the evening’s lighting rig. “The one thing that characterized all the looks is that they were complete.”
Being “complete” the looks, had no lose ends. Every design element, was in harmony with all others, and regardless of how wild, far reaching and spontaneous every visual was, it always reflected the overall look and feel of the larger show.
Helping to make this diversity and balance possible were 18 CHAUVET Professional Rogue R1 Wash fixtures from Newman’s own inventory, and six Rogue R1 BeamWash units rented from Squeek Lites.
Newman hung the Rogue R1 Wash units on a truss grid and used them for upstage washing. Spaced evenly across the central section of the stage’s black backdrop, the RGBW fixtures, not only provided colorful backwashing of the performers, they also created an engaging scenic element behind the bands in lieu of an upstage video wall. (The only video walls were one to the left and one to the right of the stage, which were used to show IMAG images.)
“I tend to avoid using video walls,” said Newman. “Not that there’s anything wrong with them, but my preference is to rely on lighting to create the backdrop, as I feel it allows the audience to use their own imagination more.”
Creating some imagination-inspiring looks during the evening were the Rogue R1 BeamWashes in the rig’s ground package. Arranged across the upstage deck, the RGBW fixtures were used primarily as a side wash, their wide 4ﹾ to 37.8ﹾ beam angle, opened up multiple opportunities to create a wide range on unique visuals.
Explaining his frequent wide beam angles, Newman noted: “I really like to light up the crowd for our big looks which is usually during the peak of a jam. It reflects the music and engages the crowd.”
Crowd engagement was much in evidence all night long at the Westville Music Bowl. Lux Et Veritas? Truth is there was lots of intensely beautiful light connecting fans to the bands this night in Connecticut.