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Lighting Designer
Maxime Chotard (LD)
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Puy du Fou, the theme park located in the Vendée a region in western France, presented its new original creation in early April, when it reopened. The new show, entitled “Le Mime et l’Etoile” (The Mime and the Star) plunges the audience into the heart of the belle époque and silent cinema, with sets, costumes and props in shades of grey to give the illusion of black and white. This was a major challenge for Maxime Chotard, in charge of lighting design, who chose the Arolla Profile MP for this project.

The artistic and technical challenge of “Le Mime et L’Etoile” is to turn the stage, sets and actors into black-and-white in an instant, while drawing the audience into the story. Puy du Fou continues to surprise with this original show, which takes visitors on a journey through the making of a historical film in black and white.

Worried about the monotony that the light might have taken on with the switch to black and white, Maxime sought to energize the show by using light in ingenious ways.

One of the key aspects was to be able to bring the lighting to life according to the actors’ movements without flooding the space with light. The spotlights precisely illuminate the action zones without flooding the rest of the stage, allowing the spectator to follow the action. Right from the start of the show, a luminous halo surrounds Garance and Mimoza, the two main characters. This luminous halo accompanies them, fading at times to further immerse the actors in the scenery.

The numerous on-board sources in the moving sets and machinery intensify the dynamism created by the travelling effect of the main set. The actors move in front of the main set, but also within it. Light becomes a partner in the game, positioned as close as possible to the actors.

The Arolla Profile MPs were chosen for their CCT, the aim being to achieve a wide yet precise white spectrum, by adapting the white to the colorimetry of the video content. The main set, depicting a passing street, is entirely video-mapped. Light and video work closely together, to create homogeneous gray and white tones that are consistent between the two techniques. With its powerful luminous flux, the Arolla Profile MP is thus able to align itself with the video at all times.

The Arolla Profile MPs were specially modified to meet the constraints imposed by this show. After extensive testing, Maxime chose to add Neutral Density filters to the color wheel, and to customize all the gobos to create a “gray” light that perfectly matched the costumes and sets.

He wanted the moving head to be as compact and hermetically sealed as possible, as the major challenge for Puy du Fou is to have machines that don’t collect dust. The projector requires very little maintenance, so there’s no impact on performances, which take place several times a day.

The dimensions of the Arolla Profile MP are an asset for integration, as they fit perfectly into this 3200 m2 theater, alongside Fresnel lens spotlights.

Mini-Bs were positioned on the courtyard and garden sides, and in the scenery on stage. This small beam is widely recognized on the market for its compactness, versatility and highly efficient light output. The Mini-B is an ideal spotlight for this new project.

Since its inception, Puy du Fou has relied on reliable manufacturers offering both innovative products and personalized service. Puy du Fou once again places its trust in Claypaky.