Originally an internationally best-selling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time made its stage debut in London at the National Theatre and has since made its way to the streets of Broadway. The production, called one of the most fully immersive works to ever hit Broadway, relies heavily on pixel mapping technology and uses an ETC Eos Titanium (Eos Ti) lighting system.
The show follows the story of Christopher, a 15 year old boy with an unnamed form of autism, who attempts to solve the unexpected murder of a neighbour’s pet poodle. Lighting designer Paule Constable faced a unique challenge: interpreting Christopher’s subjective sensory experiences into something audience members can experience. “I imagined how Christopher would have made the show,’ says Constable. To bring Christopher’s acutely attuned reality to life on stage, the show’s creative team turned the Barrymore Theatre’s stage into a sort of “magic box,’ whose walls are made of individual square pixels, creating a visual representation of Christopher’s inner reality.
With so many technical elements colliding and bringing Christopher’s magical box to life on stage, Constable felt it was important to use “minimal fixtures so that the world of the show feels like a cohesive world,’ she says. The lighting rig for The Curious Incident was equipped with a handful of Source Four luminaires for subtle profile light, as well as several Source Four Revolution automated fixtures for the controlled tungsten, all of which were run from an Eos Ti lighting desk. “With us running video and lighting,’ explains Constable, “Ti gave me the level of control and information I needed to work really quickly and efficiently.’ The show’s programmer, Zach Peletz, agrees: “Ti has a very straightforward pixel mapping engine that is easy to use and understand.’
“When programming a highly technical show, such as The Curious Incident, it is crucial to have quick access to everything, including being able to immediately view all pertinent information,’ continues Peletz. Ti’s Magic Sheets help Peletz keep the show’s technical elements organised in a visual structure that saves him and his crew time and hassle. He explains: “I used one Magic Sheet for my moving lights and another for the floor and wall pixels. Without being able to lay out each wall pixel on a Magic Sheet, it would have cost me a lot of time trying to write effects and select one individually, not to mention trying to visualise what was happening with each one graphically.’
Peletz also found that the expanded real estate on Ti’s screens improved his programming experience: “Because the Ti has larger screens, I was able to fit in more direct selects per screen, more Magic Sheet information per sheet, and get more creative in the way I combine my Magic Sheets with my standard snapshots.’
One of the strengths of the Eos Ti lighting desk is its ability to be flexible without sacrificing power. “My way of working is always evolving and I’m in a very comfortable place on the Ti,’ says Peletz, “especially with the latest updates of the Eos software.’ He found Ti’s mappable macro keys to be an essential time-saving tool when it came to programming The Curious Incident: “They allowed me to stock regularly used functions on physical keys and do away with all the external hardware devices such as x-keys, therefore increasing operating speed.’
“We pushed the technology hard,’ says Constable. “Ti is perfect for us, especially since we control so much data.’ Peletz agrees: “You spend less time talking about the technical side of things and more time being creative.’