Eleven trucks of production equipment is a lot for one stand-up comedian, but delivering the nuances of live comedy for Denmark’s leading comedian, Anders “Anden” (the Duck) Matthesen for his 25th-anniversary tour, is not a simple task.
Peter Fisker has been Matthesen’s Lighting Designer since 2006 and in that time, the funny-man known for his multiple crazy, off-beat and appealing characters – has toured regularly and made movies, DVDs and books. This particular tour he played seven shows in Denmark’s two largest arenas – five in the Royal Arena in Copenhagen and two in the Jyske Bank Boxen Arena in Herning – reaching around 86,000 fans.
Fisker proudly took up some of that truck-space with Robe moving lights, specifying 26 Robe MegaPointes, 33 Robe BMFL Spots and another three Robe BMFL Spots, complete with one MotionCamera and one BaseStation. These were delivered, together with rest of the lighting equipment, by Copenhagen based rental specialist, Comtech.
Arena comedy has some very specific lighting requirements. The artist must be well and clearly lit for both camera and stage, for audiences at the front and back watching on the IMAG screens. The facial expressions while he delivered his punchlines were mission-critical to the whole audience experience and their full appreciation of the humour. There was also the need – albeit in a vast arena – to create the ambience of intimacy, so Matthesen could feel he’s right close up and personal to every person in the room, a task in which lighting also played a huge role.
Set Designer Palle Christensen produced a design based on a clean modern look, with two large IMAG screens left and right, a series of multi-level risers, a semi-transparent cloth backdrop which included a massive scenic duck set flat outlined in LED to reinforce the nick-name. There was also a long winding runway out into the audience which enabled him to get in amongst a vast amount of the audience.
Fisker needed a load of LED wash light for the base colours, and Robe BMFL Spots were selected for their power, functionality and “big eye” of a front lens. While there were haze and smoke at strategic moments, for most of the show Fisker needed the beams to be potent enough without any atmospheric enhancement.
Having already seen the RoboSpot in action on some touring productions, right from the start Fisker decided to use it on this tour, adding three more BMFL Spots for his back-follow spots, which were operated via one RoboSpot BaseStation positioned backstage. This gave him the option of picking any of the three BMFL RoboSpots to highlight Matthesen according to where he was on the stage or runway. They worked in conjunction with two manually operated Robert Juliat Lancelot 4Ks in the FOH positions.
The MegaPointes were rigged on vertical trusses just behind each of the screens, so they appeared from behind, blasting across the stage creating structural patterns. At times they moved out and skimmed across the audience.
Another four were under each screen, which created an excellent ACL style look with six on the floor upstage and two at the centre entranceway mid-way along the onstage staircase. Also on the rig were 48 Robe 2-lite blinders dotted around and on top of the drapes which added to the excitement during the songs which featured Matthesen’s zany alter-egos.
“They are so intense and powerful, and I love the variance in beam angle, from the very narrow to the super wide – either looking equally good – as well as the small size, which is just fantastic,” Fisker enthused.