The PLCyc Smoothly Changes the Mood for Macbeth
Friday, March 1, 2013
by Philips Strand Lighting

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Philips Selecon's lightweight, smooth color changing PLCyc LED luminaires are facilitating fiercely felt mood and atmosphere for The Guildford Shakespeare Company's production of Macbeth.

Lighting designer Declan Randall is harnessing the diverse color palette and rapid color changing abilities of the PLCyc fixtures to dramatically enhance the shifting ambiance during the production at Guildford's magnificent Holy Trinity Church.

"I'm treating the ceiling of church as the cyclorama, up-lighting the roof and using the PLCyc's to throw shadows of scenic elements and the cast up onto the roof," says Randall. "The show varies from intense color to more natural, gentle, skin tones and the PLCyc's offer us speedy color changes and an amazing palette to work with. What's great about the PLCyc LED luminaires is that they deliver both the natural and unnatural colors with equal effect. One fixture is solving a lot!"

Randall's use of the PLCyc is going down a storm with critics. Sarah Flinton wrote in, "I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the lighting ... Strong deep red waves of light flooded through in brutal times, the church itself added character to the lights through natural shadows that would have been impossible in an ordinary theatre."

This production of Macbeth has the audience in the round, surrounding the centrally built stage, which means there is limited access to power and rigging positions.

"The PLCyc's have a relatively small profile and are lightweight enough to put anywhere, and the light output is impressive for such a low wattage," says Randall. "My design required careful treatment, and the LED PLCyc's were the logical step allowing me to get maximum 'bang for my buck'."

Each PLCyc LED luminaire can replace the equivalent of a traditional 4-way, 500W per circuit Cyc light, and with the convenient Powercon cabling system, the PLCyc can light a typical cyclorama from a single 20 amp circuit while using only 150 watts, beautifully illuminating drops of up to 16 feet high.

"Another thing that really impresses me is the PLCyc's dimming curve," continues Randall. "One of my big gripes about LED lights is the 8 bit dimming which has been clunky in the past, but these are beautifully smooth. We're doing 20 or 30 sec color cross fades and there's no noticeable shift in light quality."

Randall has squeezed every degree of mood, atmosphere and effect from the fixtures. Combined with the rest of his primarily conventional tungsten lighting rig and some atmospheric haze the dark harsh and murderous world of Macbeth unfolds all the more effectively with it inevitable tragic and harrowing consequences.

As Sheila Connor wrote on, "Declan Randall's amazing lighting designs create an atmosphere of tension, apprehension and suspense, and also an eerie unreality as swirling lights seem to cause the whole room to spin, and there are surprises at every turn. The sight of the cross above the altar startlingly lit blood red at the moment of the King's murder is a shock, and the witches' prophesy is fulfilled with the approach of Birnam Woods which was something I would have thought unachievable on an open stage with the audience almost all around, but it is a sight to behold and so brilliantly presented."

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