SkyPanels light the stage for THE LUCKY ONES

Wolfgang Eibert is responsible for the lighting in the production of DIE GLUECKLICHEN (THE LUCKY ONES) in Munich's Kammerspiele theater. He decided to go with ARRI S30 C SkyPanels – for good reason.

The SkyPanel is known as a top-quality light source for film and TV productions. But these multi-functional LED surface-area lights from ARRI are also being used ever more frequently in the theatre. A current example of this is the production of THE LUCKY ONES by the theatre collective "ausbau.sechs" in collaboration with Munich's Kammerspiele. It is a performance installation under the artistic direction of Linda Loebel and Sebastian Linz, based on the novel of the same name by Kristine Bilkau (Luchterhand, 2015). It is about a young urban family in fear of social demise when their source of income is threatened. There are no actors involved. Instead, sixteen audience members are led in pairs by headphone through a set made up of eight interconnected square rooms.

In THE LUCKY ONES, sixteen audience members are led in pairs by headphone through a set made up of eight interconnected square rooms

The rooms are separated by three-meter-high hanging walls made of frosted PVC diffusion foil sheets. "We knew from the outset what light ambiance we wanted in each of the rooms," explains Wolfgang Eibert, the man in charge of the lighting for THE LUCKY ONES. At the start of the play, the audience should feel the warmth and sense of security of their own four walls. Then, with each new chapter and room, the atmosphere grows colder and harsher, until it culminates in piercing despair.

The rooms are separated by walls of frosted PVC diffusion foil sheets. S30 C SkyPanels provide the lighting.

One difficulty is that the rear of the stage lies beneath a ceiling beam. That reduces the maximum height for hanging lights to five meters, making surface area lights the only option for lighting the interior. "Normally, a theater would realize the color mix in such a case with four spotlights. But that would have cast colored and ever-changing shadows on the white floor and the tables," explains Wolfgang Eibert, who has been a lighting technician for twenty years. The only solution he could think of was to use an LED spot with color mixing, and so he set out to find a top quality, compact, and yet powerful spotlight to do the job, that ensured a uniformly soft illumination with a broad beam angle with as little shadowing as possible. He chose ARRI's SkyPanel S30 C. "The perfect solution," according to Wolfgang Eibert: "The output and quality in the various shades of white, and also in the rest of the color spectrum, made them the ideal solution." He also cites the spot's color purity as an important argument in favor of the S30 C, because unlike in film, in the theater the color of the spot needs to always stay the same: "And that is precisely what happens with ARRI lights: all the performance values always stay identical."

Even with a broad beam angle, a uniformly soft illumination and as little shadowing as possible had to be guaranteed. That was one of the reasons why the theatre chose the SkyPanel S30 C

In the end, the SkyPanels became a key component of the lighting concept, supported by conventional lightbulbs and dimmable RGBW fluorescent tubes. Whether creating a warm, "family at the dining table" atmosphere or a grotesquely surreal shadow-free space, there is no doubt in Wolfgang Eibert's mind that "the SkyPanels made a major contribution to the success of THE LUCKY ONES and he will have no qualms whatsoever about "using them again in future theatre projects."

Photos: Alexander Litschka (2), ARRI (2)