Every year thousands of predominantly Afrikaans speaking South Africans embark on a two hour drive from Johannesburg to Sun City’s Superbowl to attend Huisgenoot Skouspel. This year was no different as fans either stayed at Sun City for the weekend, or commuted on the day, to see their favourite performers on one stage during October 2013. 

The production strongly embraced a theatrical feel, with carefully selected songs and nostalgic video content stirring emotions. A combination of Philips Vari-Lite and Robe fixtures were used to create clean looks, as LD Joshua Cutts painted in colour.

Starting from the set, designer Michael Gill of MGD proved that less is more. He used curved lines to create an eye-catching yet uncomplicated space which had staircases on either side of the stage going up to a balcony type platform. DWR Distribution’s Eazy Moeketsie and Gideon Mdofu installed LED strips onto a 10mm plate which were used to accentuate the contours of the set. 

Lighting Designer Joshua Cutts from Visual Frontier has lit Skouspel for the past seven years. “I used Gearhouse Splitbeam once again to supply the lighting fixtures and the crew. It’s always great working with them because they are helpful and do things properly. I don’t even have to be on site to set up. I give them the plan and only have to arrive to start programming,” said Cutts. A GrandMA NPU was sub-hired.

Alistair Kilbee is the Managing Director at Gearhouse Splitbeam (Pty) Ltd. “Yes, it’s the third time we have provided gear to Skouspel, but the first time we have been the sole lighting supplier,” he said. “It’s a pleasure working with Joshua Cutts. He is a professional and knows what he wants and how to achieve it. He likes to push fixtures and desks to the max.”

The dramatic feel of Huisgenoot Skouspel 2013 has been one of Cutts’ favourite. “It’s such a good design,” he said. “While the show is an extravaganza, it was very theatrical and I had to set a mood for each act. I’m also falling more in love with the VLs. They are smooth and professional.” 

The VL 3000 gobos were used to great effect as back light on the performers and patterns on the floor. The VL3500 were used on a centre overhead truss mirroring the stage design and also used to fan out into the audience, while the VLX washes the stage and set with colour in a varied palate. “The visual impact on camera was impressive,” said Kilbee.

The gig included 12 x Robe ColorWash 2500E ATs. “I used them as a replacement for a 5k Tungsten Fresnel on FOH truss,” said Cutts. “I found it a perfect replacement, though more versatile and dynamic, than using a generic Fresnel. There were also 24x ROBE Red Wash 3-192.

To manage the MA2 Network and Media Servers, the expertise of Marcel Wijnberger was called in. “This is the one time I completely get to choose my control system,” said Cutts. “That is why I made MA my showcase solution. I have two MA VPUs, MA2 Lite running NPU back stage and they work on MA on PC Wing as back up. “It’s where I feel the most comfortable, they all speak the same language and the show runs effortlessly.”

The show used two servers, one main and one back up. Wijnberger elaborates, “I had to use servers with HD SDI input so I could input live camera into the server. This allowed Joshua to put camera images on any of the surfaces.” The surfaces included a large LED screen (Duo LED 18 mm supplied by LEDVision), placed at the centre back of the stage, and two smaller screens on either side near the front of the stage deck. For advertising purposes, screens were hung on either side of the performing area. The screens either side were also for Cammera TX.

“I enjoy working with MA and how the products work in synergy together,” said Wijnberger. “One of the nice things I found with VPU and HD SDI is that we only have a 3/2 of a frame delay on the Screens not network. Everything ran smoothly. The content was provided by the client and my work was basically setting up and ensuring it all worked properly.”

Travis Yeatman and Paul Modise were also sub-contracted as senior lighting engineers. Having a team with passion and expertise makes a show that much more enjoyable to run. Philip Kruger from Philip Kruger Consulting was used for spot calling, and what an improvement it has been to see good follow spotting especially on a production of this scale.

The star cloth stage backdrop, provided by Sets, Drapes, Screens was possibly an indication that Skouspel 2013 would be a night of glittering talent. The opening act was spectacular and full of surprise as trapeze girls on swings playfully complemented the artists and merged with vibrant video content, lighting and pyros. 

Much loved comedian and singer, Nataniël, added hilarity as the main host compere of the event, performances and content was emotional. Some of the big names on stage included Kurt Darren, Die Heuwels Fantasties, Nianell, Snotkop, Laurika Rauch, Emo Adams and the wonderful sounds of Elvis Blue. 

From technical to creative costume designers and producers, Skouspel 2013 will be one to remember.

Lighting Gear

15 x Philips Vari-Lite VLX LED Wash18 x Philips Vari-Lite VL3000 Spot6 x ROBE ColorWash 2500E AT12 x ROBE ColorWash 2500E AT24 x ROBE Red Wash 3-19223 x ETC Source 4 Lens Tube 36deg38 x ETC Source 4 19Deg Complete Spot36 x Le Maitre MVS Hazer1 x GrandMA NPU1 x GrandMA 2 Lite1 x Avolites ART2000 48way2 x Strong SuperTrouper 2KW Xenon Followspot5 x Swisson DMX Buffer 5way1 x Swisson Rackmount DMX Buffer 5wayStory and photo courtesy DWR Distribution.

Nov 27, 2013

The Gearhouse Group of Companies