Creating Mega-Gobo shadows for The Crucible

Most designers encounter Arthur Miller’s "The Crucible" at some point in their career. They could either approach the show often popular with performing arts courses and schools due to the large number of speaking roles with trepidation, or choose to embrace the challenge to present one of the icons of American theatre.

When the Auckland Theatre Company mounted the show for their 2007 season Lighting Designer David Eversfield was presented with a double edged sword from Director Colin McColl & Designer Tracy Grant Lord. His tools to respond to the challenge were ESP Vision and Selecon MSR Pacifics.

The set was four slatted walls that perhaps suggested the interior of a barn surrounding the acting area on three sides. All of the side lights and many of the back light positions now had to work through these walls. To embrace this David designed a show utilising those positions as giant pattern templates casting slatted shadows over the floor and actors.

A Selecon Pacific MSR Zoomspot proved to be an ideal light source for casting great "mega-gobo" shadows from the slatted set. The compact MSR arc light source creates very clean crisp shadows when passing through the set pieces.

The trade off in utilising the brilliant MSR lamp is that it cannot be dimmed on its own – the services of a mechanical dimmer for discharge lamps is required to fade the output. As David had already selected a Selecon Pacific MSR Zoomspot to achieve his stunning results the solution was easy. Designed specifically for use with the Pacific range for this exact purpose is the Pacific Dowser accessory which employs a DMX device that opens and closes glass flags to vary the intensity of the light. Dimming response is similar to that of dimming a tungsten halogen lamp using a phase control dimmer with the added bonus of constant colour temperatures through the fade.

Clean crisp shadow projection, smooth, quiet and reliable operation and constant colour temperatures through a fade were important lighting design considerations for this production and the combination of a Pacific Zoomspot, MSR 575W lamp and Pacific Dowser mechanical dimmer proved the ideal solution for David Eversfield -


Production The Crucible
Theatre Company Auckland Theatre Company
Lighting Designer David Eversfield
Director Colin McColl
Set Designer Tracy Grant Lord

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