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CATS!!!!!

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Shakspeares suck, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. Shakspeares suck

    Shakspeares suck Member

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    So after months of waiting and teasing us withthe title of the spring show, my director finally reveals to me we are doing Cats......CATS!!! so I sit there and think "wow this is gonna be really fun because i have a lot of creative freedom to design this show"...then i realized "wow this is gonna be really really though to design at a high school" so I'm asking you...control booth users....if you have ever done cats or a show of that magnitude. and if so what kind of design solutions would you suggest....anything is helpful!!

    thank you
    Shaks.
     
  2. erosing

    erosing The Royal Renaissance Man

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    Do not fret over everything being perfectly to scale in size references. Say if you have an oven and a chair, a chair that is at ~325% looks fine and doesn't kill too much wood. However an oven at ~325% is unnatural even if it is to scale, and depending on your venue could look drastically disproportional, not to mention the amount of lumber it would take. Of course this is assuming you're going to design it to be a junk yard of sorts.

    Overall, if you have a cat this will be easier, but just try and think about if you were a cat what would you want to climb on and how would you get to that point, what else would you need to jump on and climb through.
     
  3. theatretechguy

    theatretechguy Member

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    I'm guessing you're asking about lighting the show since this is in the lighting category. I've lit 'Cats' and there's a few routes you can take. The show can be "overdone" with hudreds of cues, synced to each musical variation and transition, or you can simplify things and go with general "moods". Gobos are your friends for this show. There's a number of "built in" lighting things that the script and production calls for. The obvious is the "heavyside layer" finale which is usually accmplished with Grizabella "ascending" to the rafters my means of hydraulics and a drop-down ladder. There are also practical lights built into the junkyard (large christmas-style lights, etc.). I achieved lots of fun looks using Blacklight, but you and the set designer/costumer have to be together on that concept for it to be successful.

    Remember the original production didn't use any automated lighting and consisted of lots of pars, lekos and fresnels and tons of gobos and practical effects. Don't feel like you have to go out and rent automated lighting unless it will make your life easier. (color changes, gobos, etc). The original production also individually lit each actor with a beam projector manned by a person, but depending on your space, you can achieve the same looks with some skilled followspotters.

    Remember, keep it simple, especially if student technicians will be running this thing.





    Rent the video (its VERY cheesy, I warn ya), but don't feel like you have to make your production look like theirs.
     
  4. Shakspeares suck

    Shakspeares suck Member

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    First of all yes i am talking about lighting, second i AM a student technician...a high school jr. (don't underestimate me lol) and third thank you tyler and techguy, it is awesome to hear from people who have actually lit the show. I am looking at renting not only a couple automated but alot of S4s because as my name suggests our school has only 32 crappy shakespeares. andy ideas on gel colors? and specific gobos? i know about the moon, any tips on that?
    thank you
     
  5. clbarker

    clbarker Member

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    We were the first high school to perform Cats in 2006 when I was a freshman. It's quite a show...here is some stuff that could help you get an idea of how we did it...

    Memory - YouTube Video
    -This piece probably isn't the best one to watch, but its the only one online...perhaps you can get a sense of it with the pictures...

    EC Glass Theatre Gallery - Cats
    -These will probably be the most help.

    If you have any super specific questions on how we did what feel free to ask...it was a while ago but I might be able to dig up something for you...

    Hope this helps!
     
  6. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I just wanted to chime in with a fairly standard CB answer that I am surprised wasn't given yet. When designing a show, the most important thing is that the ideas are your own. You should NEVER go rent the video of a show or surf YouTube as research for your design. It is one thing if you have seen a show, but seeing a show for research for our own production really is not a good way to design. It usually leads to designers copying what they have seen (or trying to) as opposed to coming up with original ideas. All this is not to mention the fact that posting any footage of a show on sites like YouTube without the express permission of the licensing company, cast, designers and producer is illegal, even for high school shows.

    When you are designing shows you should start with how you react to the show. With a musical, you should read the script and listen to the music and think about how it makes you feel, your emotional reactions. Then take yourself over to the library and find the section with photo and art books. Sit and look through the books and find images that evoke the same emotions. Think about why the images evoke those emotions, is it the colors, the texture, the angles of light? Whatever it is, take that and try to recreate the effect on stage.

    Now you need to make sure that your ideas are in line with the other artistic staff. Ensure that your concepts fit with the director's and the other design elements. Once you get to this point it is a lot easier to offer help. When you come in and ask "How should I light XYZ show?" it takes the design away from you. While I am sure that many member of CB would have great ideas, you need to make the show your own. One of the very important parts of design is being able to justify your choices, so if you pick some template because someone said it was good, you have to be able to justify it for yourself, otherwise, what happens when a teacher or critic, or anyone asks "Why did you make that choice?" If all you can say is "someone recommended it for this show" that doesn't show any creativity. Same goes for if you were to design a show/scene based on photos or video of another show. Doing something just because "that is how they did it on Broadway (or some other theatre)" is not a good reason to make the same choices.

    So, I urge you to come up with your own ideas, and then come back and ask how to implement them. Make the design yours, and have fun!
     
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    One of the walls you will come up with on this show, and shows like it (Les Mis, Beauty/Beast, A Chorus Line, etc) are that people know these shows. People know these shows well. Some people, and directors, like to try new things, others want to re-mount the same thing they went to see when the show was on its first national tour. I literary fight this battle every day I am at work.

    I think that it is good to go watch the film, because I guarantee your director has, as well as half your audience. With these large scale shows you need to know what others know. Now, what you can do then is figure out what your director or you like about the show and make it fit what you want to do with the show. You do not, and should not, do a remount of the show. Take what you see with a grain of salt, nothing has to be the way it is. However, people will expect certain things.

    Anything Goes must have 2 stairs and a smokestack
    Man of la Mancha Must have a flying staircase
    Etc.... Etc... Etc....

    Now, cats does not have to take place in a junkyard, but it must take place in something that you can scale up and in somewhere with things that the cats can play with. Have fun with it, take it places.
     
  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    "...And now, welcome to auditions for the longest running show in Broadway history...

    Again. Scratch, lick, lick, purr, kick, scratch. ...
    Right. That connects with purr, purr, flick, hiss, scratch, step, turn, leap, lick, lick, purr, kick, spray. ... Let's do the whole combination now, facing downstage away from the litter box. A five, six, seven, eight! ... ba da da da da dah da."
    *








    * http://www.emusic.com/samples/m3u/song/10594506/11152119.m3u
     
  9. erosing

    erosing The Royal Renaissance Man

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    My apologies, didn't notice this was in the lighting category. In that case, bolder colors and lots of angles. Use side light, use it a lot. Think of it as though you're lighting a dance production more then anything else, the coreography needs to be complemented well. Don't be afraid to do crazy things, expiriment, Cats is one of the shows you can have a lot of fun with. And like what was already said, gobos, gobo rotators, and fogers/hazers are going to be some of your closest friends.
     
  10. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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  11. Shakspeares suck

    Shakspeares suck Member

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    hey guys, me againl, thanks for all the advice and i hope i can get some more, because this show is going to be a pain in my @$$. anyways i have a specfic question pertaining to the show. if you go to youtube and watch any cats videos you will notice the spotlight coming from upstage in the grid. i was wondering if the spotlight is controled by a person or if its a preprogramed intell.
    thnks
     
  12. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Controlled by a person. It is called a truss spot.

    Mike
     
  13. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    By the way there is nothing new in lighting design. It has all been done. The key is to take others ideas and put them together in a new, inventive way.

    Mike
     
  14. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    Ironically, I just saw this show the night before last. I believe that the only thing that is absolutely mandatory from a lighting perspective is the oversized christmas lights. Something else I saw that I sort of liked was the almost excessive usage of strobe lights built into the set. I thought they looked real cool.
     

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