Robe Lights Circo de Hielo 2

Madrid-based Productores de Sonrisas deploys Robe fixtures for the winter show. Photo: Pepe Castro.

It’s approaching a year since Spanish Lighting Designer, Juanjo Llorens first enthusiastically compiled his design for Circo de Hielo 2 – the latest winter show from Madrid-based Productores de Sonrisas (Smile Producers) – creators of large scale multi-disciplined such as Circo de Los Horrores and many others.

The newest arena show, directed by Suso Silva, played in a bespoke 1,800-capacity circular tent that was erected for the run of shows at IFEMA Madrid that combined premium ice skating with acrobatics, breath-taking stunts – including a skater fighting with a violinist playing live – and heaped with theatricality, pumping live music and incredible visuals. Llorens chose 40 Robe LEDBeam 150s, 24 MegaPointe and 24 Spiider moving lights to be central to his lighting rig, and these were purchased for the run of shows by Productores de Sonrisas.

Right now, the producers, creative team, technicians, and cast are anxiously awaiting a possible announcement of dates for 2021, when this mega production can hopefully be reprised after its original run from November 2019 to February 2020. The final performance portentously finished just before the live entertainment industry worldwide was shot down with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ice – a 16m diameter circular track – helped evoke the overriding feeling of cold and the ‘special being’ of the show was a giant puppet – Dundu – completed with hundreds of LEDs operated manually by five people. Llorens harnessed Robe moving lights “to have the endless possibilities that I needed at my fingertips to animate and finesse an already highly visual show.”

Robe LEDBeam 150s, Spiiders and MegaPointes were rigged on a box truss flown 12 metres above the circular ice track ice, where they produced washes and general lighting to complement the more specific spotlighting, highlighting and key lighting. Robe LEDBeam 150s were on three trusses further off stage, with MegaPointes providing front light.

As well as general light, Juanjo was able to use LEDBeam 150s luminance to soften the cast’s faces without losing brightness. Robe Spiiders provided the ‘kick’ and intensity required to bathe the ice in colours and textures, and at times it was transformed into a massive cyclorama. “The power of LEDBeam 150 and Spiider fixtures means they can work from all over these high trims without losing power,” Llorens commented.

MegaPointes on the outer sections of the box truss were used for creating effects and ratcheting up the drama, combined with practical lights in the set pieces. They offered plenty of diversity and the brightness enabling Llorens’ ‘lightcraft’ to stand out even when competing with the imposing 15m by 8m rear LED screen and the track cyclorama.

Llorens reflected on the feat. “You have to adapt your approach and be flexible about the way you program lights to deal with scenarios like very bright and obvious ‘hot spots’ in the picture – in this case, the LED screen and the ice.”

With the ice being a reflective and prominent surface not unlike a projection screen, he explained: “You have to be constantly diligent about unwanted spillage and light pollution in the wrong places.” At other times, it was finding a happy balance between intensities – screen and lighting – to the point of sometimes switching off the screen and relying totally on lighting for some scenes.

Llorens praised the Gonzalez family – Manuel, Rafa and María – of Productores de Sonrisas for their “ongoing commitment to quality and high production values.”