Lighting for our Chanukah pageant- any input is appreciated

miriam

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Hi everyone,

Next Wed. is a show, mainly dances, some singing solos with either guitar or piano. One of the acts is an acrobatic group doing the Chanukah story, and appropriate lighting would add a lot.

What do you think would be good in terms of colors, focusing, etc. There is no speaking, just movement. They use pretty much the entire stage. And since it is not just drama, but also acrobatics, I think both upper and side lighting, correct? Here is the basic storyline:

* Jews in their homes doing Jewish things (praying, lighting candles, etc.) Three different groups, not the same family, each group isolated.
* Greeks come in from upstage holding torches
* Come downstage, knock over the Jews.
* Jews pick up the torches
* Big battle scene for a while
* Jews win, Greeks run away
* Go to Holy Temple
* Search for oil
* Find oil
* Make a menorah (eight branch candle holder, the branches form a straight line) out of their bodies
* Light the menorah

They want to use these sparkly things, I don't know what they are called, for lighting the menorah. It is the things you put on a piece of cake when you have a birthday in a restaurant, tall, skinny, you light it and it has silver sparlies coming out of the top. If you know what I am talking about, is that dangerous to use onstage?

Any input would help. Everything will be focused on the morning of the show, without the performers there, so please make it adaptable to that. The only issue I see is with the opening scene, the groups need each to have light on them.

I will try to get an equipment list of exactly what we have to work with.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
 

Logos

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I call them sparklers. ...post edited....
Lighting, low down sidelight known as shin kickers is good if you can do it and I like back light with dance pieces. You need to consider costume colour and desired effects when picking colour for the lights. I like footlights in dance as well.
That's just a quick thought.
 
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derekleffew

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...
They want to use these sparkly things, I don't know what they are called, for lighting the menorah. It is the things you put on a piece of cake when you have a birthday in a restaurant, tall, skinny, you light it and it has silver sparlies coming out of the top. If you know what I am talking about, is that dangerous to use onstage? ...
In the US, they are simply known as sparklers, and in most jurisdictions fall into the "safe and sane" category of fireworks. In the county of the state where I live, these fireworks are only allowed to be sold and deployed the seven days prior up to and including July 4. The fallout from sparklers can be hot enough to ignite a flammable source, and some (all?) packaging uses the words "For outdoor use only." I don't know if "Birthday Cake Sparklers" are in a different category or not. I highly recommend contacting your local Fire Dept. Safety Officer (Fire Marshall) and getting his/her ruling on whatever devices you plan to use, and ABIDE by his/her word, which is LAW.
 

avkid

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The fallout from sparklers can be hot enough to ignite a flammable source, and some (all?) packaging uses the words "For outdoor use only."
Yeah, I have seen those go terribly wrong a few times.
Nothing spectacular, but burned trousers nonetheless.
 

soundlight

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They do also sell "trick candles" that are regular candles with a special wick that emits a few sparks, but they don't even get more than two inches from the candle before dying out. They also don't result in a hot metal rod.
 

avkid

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DarSax

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Isn't the menorah from the temple supposed to be oil anyways? (How're you going to work in candles?)

(NOT that I am in any ANY way suggesting to use oil...........)

Also for some reason a lit, colored cyc really stands out in my mind for this production, if you can do it. What's the set like?
 

zac850

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New York
That sounds really really corny. Sorry, it just does. (I'm not anti-Semitic, I'm jewish, it just sounds kinda corny, no offense)

Anywho, its dance, or gymnastics which is close enough to modern dance, so, dance lighting. Shins, Mids, Heads is the basic light to pop the bodies and give forms. Ghost in some top, diagonal backs always help pop dancers and bodies as well.

Color, I'd probably go without a cyc (assuming your cyc is behind a black scrim so it just disappears). I'd choose somewhat saturated ambers. This is an old story, goes back in time, a nice saturated amber may help show that (of course this depends on what their costumes are).

For the battle, if you find something thats between red and amber, I'd go with that. Or perhaps double up on your shins and drop a red in the secondary shin, and add it in. Just shins may look neat for the big battle.

Pulling out of the battle go back to your previous look, maybe cool it out a little, maybe not. I'd have to see the actual dance.

For the lighting of the menorah (make sure you use the right one, the one in that ancient temple looks different from the modern one we light on Chanukah) I wouldn't do sparklers. Not for any safety reason, but cause that sounds REALLY cheasey and would probably make the audience laugh (unless this is meant to be a spoof, in which case go for it).

If I was involved with it, I'd push for 8 of the dancers to become the menorah (or however many candles there should be) and get a toplight special irised in REALLY tight on their spots. As whoever goes to light each dancer, bring the special up. Specials should be N/C or maybe even some CTB, like an R3202 or G870 type of color to really punch through the amber wash of the stage.

Of course, I haven't seen the dance, nor do I know your limitations. As always, your experiences may differ :)

And Happy Chanukah
 

icewolf08

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That sounds really really corny. Sorry, it just does. (I'm not anti-Semitic, I'm jewish, it just sounds kinda corny, no offense)
I doubt you would feel that way if you were the one who had to design lights for it.

Everyone has come up with good ideas, we just have no idea what miriam can an can't do in the space she has, it will be good to get more details. Also, on the pyro topic, pretty much every Israeli grows up as a pyro. This of course can be a negative and a positive, but they love playing with fire. Many holidays provide a fine time for signs made of (flammable materials withheld) to be lit up. So, I wouldn't worry about the Israeli's burning down too many things.
 

zac850

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I doubt you would feel that way if you were the one who had to design lights for it.
Also, on the pyro topic, pretty much every Israeli grows up as a pyro. This of course can be a negative and a positive, but they love playing with fire. Many holidays provide a fine time for signs made of (flammable materials withheld) to be lit up. So, I wouldn't worry about the Israeli's burning down too many things.
Well, my family in Israel had their house burn down from Sabbath candles. And I've designed lights for lots of corny things, I don't need to enjoy the show to design the lights (though it does help).
 

miriam

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Oh, fabulous! You guys are awesome!

I'm still waitng to find out costume colors and lamps. I will most likely know tomorrow.

Okay, so.

low down sidelight known as shin kickers, back light, footlights.
no sparklers, they are slightly dangerous and corny (I am so not offended).
We are not using a cyc. No set or background at all, just the black stage.
Shins, Mids, Heads, Ghost in some top, diagonal backs (what does this mean?)
Saturated amber- as the predominant color
Battle- possbly just shins, add red to the amber
toplight special while lighting the menorah (what does this mean? and do we need eight separate ones?)

I'm sorry about your family's home burnng, zac. And yeah, there are holidays here that scare me to pieces with the unattended fires.
 

icewolf08

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Well, my family in Israel had their house burn down from Sabbath candles. And I've designed lights for lots of corny things, I don't need to enjoy the show to design the lights (though it does help).
/short hijack/
My uncle used to live next door to the Tzfat Candle Factory. They were there when the factory burned down. I have always found it ironic that the candle factory burned down... But they have since moved, and the candle factory was rebuilt and is still producing some of the most beautiful hand dipped candles around IMO.
/end hijack/
 

zac850

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I suppose candle factory is up there with fireworks factory....

Miriam, keep in mind that everything is just suggestions of what to think about. We haven't seen your space, the dance, heard the music, and so on. I'm giving suggestions of what I would think about, but, again, I don't know the specifics of the piece. You are the designer, so whatever YOU want to do is what is right. Lighting Design is art, some people like Picaso, some don't. Keep that in mind.

low down sidelight known as shin kickers, back light, footlights.
no sparklers, they are slightly dangerous and corny (I am so not offended).
We are not using a cyc. No set or background at all, just the black stage.
Shins, Mids, Heads, Ghost in some top, diagonal backs (what does this mean?)
Saturated amber- as the predominant color
Battle- possbly just shins, add red to the amber
toplight special while lighting the menorah (what does this mean? and do we need eight separate ones?)
It seems that your doing mostly a dance show. Dance is about the bodies, so you want to light from positions that highlight and accent the bodies. Front light and top light have a tendency to compress forums (look at how shadows play across the body from each position).
Since dance is about forms, you should look to light a lot from the side booms at body level. This helps define an edge on the dancers body and pop them out from the background. Diagonal backlight is exactly what it sounds like, it is light from behind the dancer that is off to the side (usually from the sides of the furthest upstage electric in a proscenium theater).

For the toplight suggestion I gave for the candle lighting, this depends a lot about how it is choreographed. If it is done as individual actors as candle-sticks, I would put a toplight special on each person and as each human candle gets lit, I would use the light to highlight the person and do the actual "lighting" of the person.

Again, I haven't seen the dance, I don't know what will be happening on the stage. I am giving suggestions, nothing more.
 

avkid

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Also have you ever tried to light a sparkler on cue? They take forever to light, and sometimes they don't at all. I would stay away from sparklers.
JH
Yeah, the cheap ones I get from Pennsylvania(shhh...don't tell the ATF) have only about an 80% success rate.
 

thebikingtechie

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Aug 25, 2006
This is meant to be artistic correct? I'm only asking because I know some of these types of shows are more for the fun of having the kids of the community on stage, and parents want to see their kids bright shining faces. In that case I would prioritize seeing them clearly, you don't want to have Jewish mothers mad at you (I'm speaking from experience, I'm a non practicing pseudo jew (Dad's jewish)).

If you do have more artistic possibilities I would try and add some side shadows to the Jewish defeat, either some blues coming in from one side or just darken one side a little for that scene.

Sounds fun, I wish we did fun stuff like that at my synagogue when I was younger and still went to sunday school.

Happy Chanukah
 

miriam

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Up the wall
I think I need to be clear about something. I am not really DESIGNING, per se. We are hiring someone for the lighting who can design on the fly, as we go. Because we will not have the space until the day of the show. But the more ideas and details I can give in advance, the smoother teching will be, and the effects will be that much more what we are aiming for (I hope). Usually it is in the technicians hands.

But now I know you all.

So I can ask here and get suggestions from people and speak to him with much more specifics about what we want. But he will still be designing on the fly.

The costume colors are: Greeks in black with white accents, Jews in (surprise, surprise) blue and white. The space is a theater and we will be using their equipment. The person I spoke with did not want to give me a list, but it has what a normal theater has, I guess. When I speak with the lighting tech, he will know if something I want to do is out of range.
 

icewolf08

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I think I need to be clear about something. I am not really DESIGNING, per se. We are hiring someone for the lighting who can design on the fly, as we go. Because we will not have the space until the day of the show. But the more ideas and details I can give in advance, the smoother teching will be, and the effects will be that much more what we are aiming for (I hope). Usually it is in the technicians hands.
But now I know you all.
Designing is as much what you are doing, figuring out where you want lights and what colors you need, and the effects you want to create as it is turning the lights on and off. So you will have someone come in that is going to help you achieve the looks you want, but in essence, if you have the power to say "these are the ideas we want" then you are a designer.