Turning Necessity Into Artistry
“Cabaret” Pre-Show Lighting With Fluorescent Bulbs

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Boston University is currently building out a new performance space. The Joan & Edgar Booth Theatre and College of Fine Arts Production Center should be ready for performances in January, 2018 – until then, however, the campus was short one performance space. When Boston University’s School of Theatre recently mounted a production of Cabaret, they produced it inside a rehearsal room inside BU’s College of Fine Arts building.

An X-shaped fluorescent fixture hanging inside the BU rehearsal-turned-performance space

Considering the intimacy of the show – this concept really worked. There was one element, however, that Lighting Designer, Marcella Barbeau, would have to deal with – the large “X-shaped,” fluorescent apparatuses hanging in the room. Barbeau and the production crew knew that they had two choices: 1.) ignore the fluorescents in the space, or 2.) embrace them and find a way to work them into the show. Needless to say, they selected option two and went looking for a way to work the fluorescent lights into the pre-show, house lighting.

One of the Budapest ruin bar photos that inspired Marcella Barbeau’s lighting design

Marcella was inspired by the ruin bars in Budapest. “They’re beautiful spaces with found lighting equipment from around the country,” she said. “Some bars have stop lights in them, string lights of different colors, and different gelled fluorescents that somehow all come together harmoniously.”

In order to add color to her fluorescents, Marcella ordered a selection of 48” RoscoSleeves to cover her T8 bulbs. Her Roscolux color palette for the sleeves included: R26 Light Red, R318 Mayan Sun, R94 Kelly Green, R85 Deep Blue, and R39 Skelton Exotic Sangria.

The colored fluorescents are designed to welcome the audience into “this beautiful, mesmerizing, heightened world,” Barbeau describes, so that “the post-show wash of no-color PAR 64’s completely contrasts with the bright, saturated colors of the fluorescents in the beginning.”

To learn more about the product that Lighting Designer, Marcella Barbeau used to color the fluorescent bulbs in Boston University School of Theatre’s production of Cabaret, visit our RoscoSleeves product page. To see our complete range of Rosco Color Filters and build your own color palettes, explore the Rosco myColor web app.

Marcella Barbeau is a lighting designer with professional design credits in St. Louis, Chicago, Seattle, Boston, and in 2015 she was the lighting design fellow at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR. Currently, she resides in Boston, Massachusetts where she is working on her MFA at Boston University. To see more of Marcella’s work, visit her website: www.barbeaudesign.com.

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Joel Svendsen

About Joel Svendsen

Content Marketing Manager: Joel's Rosco career began in Rosco's Hollywood office in 1999 – first in sales covering the Western US and the Los Angeles Film & Television market, and then as Product Manager for Rosco's Film & Television Products. In that time, his knowledge of Rosco's products and how they're used in each of our marketplaces makes him well suited for bringing the stories in Spectrum to life.

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