Lighting designer Christina Thanasoula placed 10 Robe LEDBeam 150 fixtures in the footlights position around the front of the stage floor to add flexibility and multiple options.
The National Theatre of Greece (NTG) chose Robe LEDBeam 150s for three of its performances of Aeschylus’s The Persians – first produced in 472 BCE – in July at the ancient Epidaurus open-air amphitheatre. The performances took place with a fully socially distanced audience of 4,500 instead of the usual 10,000 capacity.
Lighting designer Christina Thanasoula chose Robe LEDBeam 150s to add flexibility and multiple options to her design, placing 10 of the versatile little fixtures in the footlights position around the front of the stage floor.
All three shows, directed by Dimitris Lignadis, were fully sold out, and the second night’s performance was live-streamed worldwide with support from the Greek Ministry of Culture in partnership with Google Greece as part of the 2020 Athens and Epidaurus Festival.
She added the LEDBeam 150s – supplied by MSH-Europe – because it is a low profile and quiet running fixture with no fan noise, imperative as they were positioned just two metres from the first row of the audience.
“Small size and quietness were top of my checklist, I wouldn’t have been able to further consider using these Robe luminaires, without ‘ticking’ these two boxes first,” Thanasoula explained.
She also said that the “excellent dimming” curve is “a great asset for the extremely slow theatre fades”.
Additionally, this small fixture offers a great colour palette and some very special tints/shades of white, with an excellent zoom (3.8 – 60 degrees) allowing it to cover many lighting needs from general wash palettes to a tight spot for ‘specials’.
Thanasoula also considered the simultaneous presence of different lighting sources for the broadcasting cameras carefully. It was a scenario where tungsten, HMI lamps and LED all had to work together harmoniously and create a solid visual on-camera look.
The LEDBeam 150’s colour palette and the high CRI made it easy to match the different colour temperatures and create well-balanced scenes, Thanasoula said. The creative team’s raw, emotional, and minimalistic scenography integrated fully with the venue’s natural environment.
“We didn’t want to obstruct the wonderful view by adding truss towers or any other huge structures at the back,” explained Christina.
The set – designed by Alegia Papageorgiou – comprised an elegant row of church seating and the absence of other physical set elements onstage demanded “humble” use of lighting fixtures, that would not create any “visual noise”.
In Epidaurus, because of the very steep viewing angle, the floor of the stage is always visible, and it becomes an incidental backdrop to the action.
Lighting for both live and streaming audiences added extra challenges and all the lighting decisions were made with this in mind. Live streaming also made it imperative there were no dark moments whilst live.
“The LED Beam 150s served dramaturgically as the main lighting fixture for the chorus parts and also were a safety-net for the live cameras in case we needed to raise intensity levels or sneakily illuminate specific areas of the stage that looked slightly underlit on the camera monitors,” underlines Christina, who was delighted with the results.