I have been very fortunate to have performed in many different venues as a dancer and actor before becoming The Purple Pirate. In grand theatres where light and sound are consciously controlled; the audience can be immersed in the story. The reality of most children’s performance is that most times it is in very hectic environments like school gymnasiums where children have an association with competition, physical activity and the entire space is lit up for safety.
In my first couple national tours I had the epiphany that most children will never have the opportunity to see a live theatre production. I thought that if I could bring stage lighting and turn off the gym lights I could really capture their attention and take them on a magical journey. Initially I wanted to do this all by bicycle (I know….ridiculous) and looked into the latest DJ lighting. The online search was quite an online adventure as Vancouver retailers don’t stock this style of product.
I was watching a Hollywood film a number of years ago and another seed was planted when the sound was turned off. The film wasn’t interesting anymore. Then after some research I learned that a large part of the budget of a hollywood film was spent on sound. Sound creates an emotional experience for the audience. Next time you are watching a film and tears are welling in your eyes or you are on the edge of your seat…try turning off the sound. The experience will fall flat. This inspired me to invest much time, energy and money into sound that will engage the children as well. Did I mention a lot of time?
I had the vision. I knew what I wanted for an outcome. Now I had to do the work….
What a journey of learning software, learning about colour influences on emotion, sound frequencies, writing a meaningful script for both the audience as well as the curriculum, relearning software, meditating on how to use software effectively, choreographing routines, rewriting, hiring professionals to shape the production, and have I mentioned… learning software.
Most lighting software is written for DJs. Loops of dazzling colour rather than precision to specific moments in time. My initial understanding of my software was that I had to start the sound and the lights independently and sometimes the timing was off….which was frustrating. A lightning sequence would hit and the sound and lights would not be timed as I envisioned. AHHH!!!
This January I was on a 10 silent meditation retreat called Vipassana….This is a whole other rabbit hole that I will discuss another time. I think on the 4th day of meditation I had an epiphany of how to use my lighting software effectively. When I was trying to clear my mind I discovered something that makes my life sooooo much easier. And the effect for the audience is astounding.
Technology has its’ place for me. Gear is more compact and software is much more accessible. This all comes together for a much better audience experience.
Have a look. www.purplepirate.com.