LD Natali Arco Lights The Drowsy Chaperone

by Michael Eddy
LD Natali Arco recently lit The Drowsy Chaperone at Webster University. Photography by Eric Woolsey.
LD Natali Arco recently lit The Drowsy Chaperone at Webster University. Photography by Eric Woolsey.

Part of the Hog Factor 2016 winning team from Webster University, designer Natali Arco recently used High End Systems SolaSpot 1500s to illuminate The Drowsy Chaperone. Produced by the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University, the show is a unique and bubbly ode to musicals; the set is the living room of a man explaining his favorite musical while he plays it on a record player, and simultaneously imagines it coming to life in his New York apartment.

Arco approached the design in a way that would reflect the protagonist’s contemporary perspective of his favorite ‘classic’ 1930s musical. She comments, “I researched examples from past and present, and searched for photos of current musicals—this inspired a lot of the isolation and highly saturated looks. I also drew on past examples of art deco graphics for color inspiration, and this led me to the choice of using bold and sharp templates to achieve a similar look. Naturally, I wanted as much flexibility as possible beyond the restraints of my conventional rig. The SolaSpot 1500s well exceeded my expectations for any fixture in this regard!”

The LD used four SolaSpot 1500s for the production, specifically choosing to put them in a high side position to achieve maximum versatility in the full thrust space. “The shutters on the fixtures were pivotal and were used extensively,” says Arco. “Overall, the SolaSpots were a powerhouse in the production; they did everything from providing basic wash light for the entire playing area and pushing extra saturation in color, to providing isolation with specials and adding to the energy of the production with live movement. My favorite moments with them were the flyouts we were able to program in.”

“The 1500s were much punchier than I initially imagined, and worked wholly to our advantage on the production,” she continues. “I rarely needed to use them at an intensity higher than 60%, and at that intensity they still cut through to give the edge of color to the production I was hoping for. Another unintended huge bonus was how silent they were! We all know how crucial it is for moving lights to be as close to silent as possible in the theatre, and the SolaSpots were remarkably quiet—especially when compared to the other movers in the rig.”

Further information from High End Systems: www.highend.com