Chauvet Brings The Beginners to Life

Oversized flowers bloom, waiflike stalactites fly, and the leaded weight of “adult” concerns lifts like the morning mist in the final third of The Beginners. A play-within-a-play featuring 4-10-year-olds, this memorable passage opens a window into the boundless and colourful imaginative powers of childhood.

Adding impact to this wondrous play, and making its fantastical characters come to life even more vividly during a production at London’s Unicorn Theatre, is the rich assortment of colours created by Zoe Spurr, using CHAUVET Professional COLORado 2 Zoom Tour fixtures.

“The COLORados was a great choice for The Beginners,” said Spurr. “They helped me add a different transformative element to the critical last third of the play.  I was able to bring complementary colour, depth and effects onto the stage to help bring the magic of The Beginners to life.”

Colour is a transformative agent, and Spurr relied on it to set an entirely different visual tone in the concluding section of The Beginners, which was written by award-winning director Tim Crouch.  The play tells the story of three families trapped in a waterlogged cottage during a holiday. At one point, the adults visit a pub, leaving the children alone at the cottage. Bored, the children create their own play. It is during this play-within-a-play that the children’s wisdom, insights and fertile imaginations come to the fore.

Drawing on the colour rendering capabilities of the high-output RGBW fixtures, Spurr bathes the stage in vivid hues that clearly distinguish this section of the play from the more narrowly focused earlier scenes. Colours give life to the aspirations of the children, while at the same time underscoring their concerns.

Spurr hung four COLORado Zoom 2 Tour fixtures in a circle in front of the forestage apron. “The theatre has a large proscenium and deep stage, as well as a large ‘D’ shaped forestage,” she said. “The COLORados framed the forestage to bring colour in from all sides.”

The 7° to 42° zoom range of the COLORado fixtures allowed Spurr to focus light on specific areas of the stage while avoiding distractive spillage. “We got excellent coverage from the COLORados. They had a flat enough angle to cross over the entire stage.  Using the zoom control of the fixtures, I was able to isolate different areas of the stage. I also contrasted colours across the set to add interest.”

Describing the COLORado fixtures as “a much appreciated and valuable addition to the lighting rig,” Spurr called on them to give flight to the imaginative spirit of childhood. The vivid colours in her design lifted that youthful spirit ever higher.