The Winter’s Tale - Furman University Department of Theatre Arts

Theatre

From Furman University –

In a recent production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, our design team wanted to do a special effect for a particular moment in the play. The shepherd’s son discovers a fardel (package, bundle, box) abandoned on a seacoast. When he looks inside of the box he discovers that it is filled with gold coins.

The style of the play was to emphasize the fantasy and lyrical quality of the story and language. The scenic designer wondered if a golden light glow out of the fardel might create just the effect needed for that moment of the play.

He had long been interested in the wireless DMX products produced by RC4 Wireless but had not come up against a production moment that seemed to call for the use of that technology. This seemed like a perfect convergence of need and technology!

Seeing the products demonstrated in person at the Milwaukee USITT cemented the concept. The department purchased an RC4Magic Series 2 DMXio (transmitter) and an RC4Magic Series 2 DMX4dim 4-channel wireless dimmer. We also bought a Baxter Controls Pocket Console DMX to both allow for future light lab experiments and demonstrations of the capabilities of the equipment. We would also run the effect for the show out of the pocket console.

It was determined that a single MR16 DC lamp with a golden gel would serve to create the glow of the gold in the fardel. The technical director acquired the gel cell, rechargable 12V battery, lamp and other necessary cables and clamps.

It seemed necessary to have the “works” removed from the fardel because of a particularly active bit of stage business with the fardel in the second act and to reduce the weight. The technical director devised a wooden “sled” for the battery, lamp and dimmer module which fit down in a manufactured recess in the base of the fardel box. The removable module also facilitated the ease of attaching the recharge cables between performances.

The pictures show the inside of the fardel, the “sled” of components for the lighting effect and the stage picture from the moment in the play when the gold was discovered.

The resulting effect was quite magical, surprising and very effective in making that particular moment in The Winter’s Tale memorable – thanks to the beautifully designed compact equipment from RC4 Wireless.