GIMME FIVE FOR THE FUGARD
By Angus Douglas
Terrence Mann said, “Movies will make you famous, Television will make you rich; But theatre will make you good.” If you haven’t heard of Terrence Mann it’s because he chose to be good (he’s a multi-talented Broadway legend) as opposed to rich and famous.
The Fugard Theatre in Cape Town turns 5 this year, and Electrosonic SA pays tribute to their contribution to South African arts. Daniel Galloway, who joined just after it opened, is Executive Director of The Fugard, and is hugely passionate about producing quality shows, not only for Cape Town, but for the country.
Unless you’ve spent the last 2 years trying to spot a Red-Lipped Batfish in the Galapagos Islands, you’ll know that The Fugard has recently enjoyed massive success with The Rocky Horror Show. Rocky Horror ran for 61 sold-out weeks in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Daniel put the success of the show in context: “The production was very special for The Fugard - it showed us that with the right product, the right creative team and an enormous effort from our in-house team we are able to achieve sustainability for our financially independent theatre.” Unlike SAA and SABC, Daniel can’t go crying to government when he runs out of money. He, and his beloved theatre, live and die by the old cliché – bums on seats. Getting bums into fishnet stockings no doubt helped.
Rocky Horror not only brought home the biltong, it also picked up numerous awards, including a Naledi Award for lighting, which went to Daniel, whose first love is lighting. “Winning the Naledi Award for lighting was a bonus and I’m particularly grateful to my associate design, Ben du Plessis, who made our lighting desk do things which I never knew was possible.” Electrosonic SA can take a little kudos too. As Robbi Nassi (Lighting Technical Sales and Support at Electrosonic SA) explains, “We don’t get involved directly with shows, but if The Fugard have any lighting or AV issues, are looking for a specific product, or need training and support we are the first phone call they make. We even received requests to source plastic pineapples once.”
Robbi and Daniel have a working relationship that goes back to 2005. Daniel explains, “From the day I met Robbi, when I was a young production manager at UCT, I trusted him and have never been let down by the impeccable, unmatched after-sales service and care.” Robbi appreciates dealing with someone like Daniel, who has a strong lighting background: “Daniel is very clued up on lighting, and he knows exactly what he wants, so that makes it easier for us to serve him.”
The Fugard recently invested in four of Martin’s MAC Quantum Profile fixtures. Robbi refers to Martin’s update of the MAC 700 as “revolutionary”. He fully endorses Martin’s blurb on their latest champion: “This extremely bright LED profile fixture combines top-quality white light with a fast, smooth CMY colour mixing system and crisp gobo projection on surfaces as well as mid-air.” The MAC Quantum also boasts the Animotion™ FX system that takes beam animation a step into the future.
Electrosonic SA has supplied The Fugard with various Martin products including MAC 700s and MAC Auras, which Robbi describes as, “an excellent LED theatre wash light.” In addition, Electrosonic SA has also supplied Daniel with ADB generics (1K profiles and 1K fresnels), Litec trussing, CM Loadstars, Robert Juliat Follow spots, various LED Strip lighting, JEM Glaciators and Hazers, Martin Atomic Strobes and UPSs. Daniel ‘grew up’ on Compulite Vector Lighting Control Systems, and these are also supplied by Electrosonic SA.
After the massive success of Rocky Horror The Fugard is now preparing for its first ‘out of house’ production, West Side Story, which will play at the Artscape Opera House from 23 July to 23 August. “It’s the first time we are venturing into the big theatre, we’ll bring all our in-house toys to supplement what they already have,” says Daniel. West Side Story is being produced with the help of Gearhouse Splitbeam, who are looking after the staging and lighting aspects of the show.
And when Daniel is not humming along to, “Everything free in America, all for a fee in America,” he’ll be exhorting Cape Town audiences to, “Put down the washing, the book and the broom, and come hear the music play.” If you’re in the Mother City go see Cabaret; now on at The Fugard, and earning rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.