Apr. 16, 2019

The magic of ARRI SkyPanels at the Théâtre du Soleil

The French theater collective Compagnie Des Cinq Roues performed in the renowned French Théâtre du Soleil in Paris with stage light from ARRI’s SkyPanel S60-C—and will do so in more than 60 theatres and festivals across the country soon.

Apr. 16, 2019

In autumn 2018, the French theater collective Compagnie Des Cinq Roues has been invited to Théâtre du Soleil to perform the two plays “Le Dernier Jour du jeûne” and “L’Envol des cigognes” by Simon Abkarian in Paris. The stage was illuminated by twelve SkyPanels S60-C from ARRI.

Jean-Michel Bauer has been working as a lighting designer in the fields of theater, dance, opera, and events since the 1980s. His first creation at the Théâtre du Soleil was “Les Atrides” in 1989. From 1990 to 1995, he continued with the lighting of the play “Tartuffe.” The use of ARRI’s SkyPanels in Simon Abkarian’s “Le Dernier Jour du jeûne” and “L’Envol des cigognes” was a premiere for him. “They served as the flood lights for every scene,” he explained. A challenge here: “The Théâtre du Soleil is very unusual, because there is no rigging over the stage. With Simon, we decided to leave the area over the stage without any spots; we wanted it to look more like a movie set.” Therefore, the ARRI’s LED lights were placed behind the scenes. “The light sources were invisible to the audience. The magic could work,” says Jean-Michel Bauer and adds: “All actors were pleasantly surprised to find themselves in cinema lighting while performing at a theater.” And—even more important—the audience was very enthusiastic: “All the reviews and feedback were unanimous in their praise of the beauty of the lights.”

With the SkyPanels, the lighting designer appreciates, that he is “able to create my own colors and the color renderings.” Of course, he used the Stage Mode, which continuously dims the SkyPanel down to zero percent, “to avoid an abrupt cut off of the lights, making scene transitions softer, more realistic and natural.”

Apart from the light quality, Jean-Michel Bauer identifies further advantages when using SkyPanels: “flexibility, easy to handle and to install.” In addition, he “verified the robustness of the SkyPanels.” After all, they were on call between four and ten hours a day for more than three months during rehearsals and performances.

That’s why he became “a fan of the SkyPanels” and will use them from now on for atmospheric washes regularly. Bauer likes the ARRI fixtures as “a new tool for design creation.” He continues: “Every new product opens up new possibilities. We now have the change to work with LED.”

In 2019, the Compagnie Des Cinq Roues will be going on tour in more than 60 theatres and festivals across France and ARRI’s SkyPanels are requested in the equipment list. On the road, the SkyPanels will soon be tested by many technical crews across the country, crews who will have the chance to form their own opinion about ARRI SkyPanels.

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Photos: Antoine Agoudjian