When Circus Flic Flac rolled into town at Westfalenhalle, Dortmund for its ninth annual Christmas show, it brought with it a 1200-capacity Circus Tent, an array of exceptionally talented human-only artistes and a stunning Ayrton lighting arrangement by talented lighting designer, Christopher Rostalski, from CR-Lichtdesign in Soest, Germany.
Rostalski chose to work with the latest Ayrton products to create his design in this unique setting, employing 20 Khamsin-S profile spots, 20 Bora-S washlights and 10 MiniBurst graphic strobe fixtures, all of which were supplied by Stefan Kniess at B+B Veranstaltungstechnik in Dortmund.
Circus Flic Flac was, naturally, needing some rather powerful lighting for the inside of this very dark and dramatic performance setting and the Ayrton fixtures had features that ideally suited this environment.
“We really liked the fact that Khamsin and Bora both have the Ayrton 100% framing system which are perfect for an artistic show like this,” explained Rostalski. “We were able use these to concentrate the light with great precision onto the smaller acts, and then zoom out very wide for big gobo and atmospheric looks. Even with the gobos and colour in, I think they are one of the brightest LED fixtures on the market.”
The lack of roof and truss constructions within the tent, which is due to the constant change in position of flown equipment depending on the artists’ requirements, mean the Khamsin-S, Bora-S and MiniBurst fixtures were mostly rigged in a typical circus configuration on the towers around the stage and at the entrance on the Tribune.
From here Rostalski made full use of Khamsin and Bora’s intense colour capabilities, expansive zoom range, shutter cuts and many other features. Bora especially provided a very intense range of colours which, in this particularly artistic show, at times presented a kaleidoscope of abstract designs, with hints of Kandinsky shapes and forms, and Matisse-like density of colour.
“With the large output from these fixtures we could create impressive, big beam aerial looks for the introductions to each of the acts and at scene changes throughout the show. We also make good use of the LED pixel effect in Khamsin, which is a unique macro setting with adjustable speed that allows you to chase six segments within the LED engine to create a sparkle effect”
The Khamsin and Bora framing feature proved especially useful in dealing with the unorthodox angles of the rigging positions as the four independent shutter blades cover a 100% surface area in all positions, so that the user can frame any object, regardless of the luminaire’s position. The Bora and Khamsins’ compact size made them easy to handle and rig, and their aesthetic appearance looked good in the open setting of the circus tent.
The MiniBurst strobe units were used mostly to create an effective moving stroboscope effect, which was used particularly well on the Wheel of Death and Globe of Speed - a rotating steel structure that is suspended from its axis which, at the highest point of rotation, has the artist almost reaching the tent ceiling.
“They proved themselves extremely stable, as they had to hang for six weeks in a circus tent with dramatic temperature fluctuations of about 20 degrees from day to night, yet still gave a very good performance”
Circus Flic Flac was founded in 1989 by the brothers Benno and Lothar Kastein in Bocholt. The show comprises elements of acrobatics, high tech stunts and some slapstick with musical accompaniment. Because of the high level of technical effort required the performance takes place on a stage rather than in an arena. Approximately 180 people travel with the Circus, including around 50 artists and their families, other employees comprising tent masters, technicians, prop staff, musicians and office staff.