The real Eurovision song contest may be all finished for this year, but in Denmark, it just keeps on going, with Vi Maler Byen Rød: The Musical, which takes in 27 of the country’s most famous and popular contest songs and turns them into a story.
Lighting director and programmer Mikkel Bedsted used ETC’s newest control desk, Cobalt, at the Folketeatrets grand stage in Copenhagen, to program a version of the musical, which closed the week before Austria’s Conchita Wurst surprised and delighted audiences in equal measure.
The title, which refers to one of the country’s best loved entries, means “we’re painting the town red’, and refers not just to the raucousness of Eurovision, but also the craziness of the 1980s in general.
Bedsted was at the offices of Danish dealer Bico, when he mentioned that he might be interested in trying something other than his usual lighting desk for the forthcoming show. Bico’s staff suggested the new Cobalt 20 desk, which would have an operating style that should be quick to work on and perfect for that type of show – and before Bedsted knew it, the dealer had booked one in for him!
“I only had four days to do the programming,’ he explains, “so I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get everything done in time, especially considering I had to learn how to use the desk. Luke Delwiche from ETC’s sales department came to help for two days, then I was on my own – but it was so quick to use that I got everything done in less time than I expected.’
The Cobalt control desk line – which incorporates the original Cobalt 20, and the smaller Cobalt 10 – is designed to minimise the number of keypresses needed to perform even the most complex of actions. That way lighting programmers and operators can keep their eyes on the stage more, and on the desk less.
Vi Maler Byen Rød has been run several times across Denmark, and has the honour of receiving the most Facebook likes ever for a theatre production. With over 200 cues, Bedsted might have been overwhelmed with so much to do in such a short time, but, he said, “it was a refreshing change to use,’ he says. “I wasn’t too familiar with it initially, and there were some things I might have struggled to do without Luke’s guidance, but after just a few hours, I was doing really well. My colleagues – and the audience – were impressed.’
Sarah Clausen, ETC’s Cobalt product manager, says, “Cobalt is quickly becoming established across Europe as a fast, efficient desk work with, and we’re really excited that Mikkel chose to try it out on such a fast moving show.
“We always work closely with lighting designers and programmers, and work their feedback into product updates, so it was great when we got such positive feedback from Mikkel, who was the first programmer in Denmark to use a Cobalt desk in a live environment.’