Lighting Passion at New York’s Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle

August 10, 2004

Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle on Long Island, New York presents the Passion Play, a musical/drama presentation depicting the last days of Christ, each Easter season. The cast and crew (totaling approximately 130) are all church members. 

The production was under the direction of Pastor Todd and Brenda Marshal. Lighting design was a collaborative effort between Pastor Todd Marshal; Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle’s Steven Chandler, who serves as LightJockey programmer and operator; and Al Ridella from 4 Wall Entertainment. All lighting was supplied through 4 Wall Entertainment located in New Jersey.

Keeping it fresh
“Since this show is run annually, every year we strive to create new and exciting elements to keep the production fresh,” Steven comments. “This year we felt the best way to achieve this goal would be to implement a new lighting design and look. Now, as any lighting department could attest to, this is a large task to complete in a brief amount of time, and since this is not our occupation, the learning curve was also a formidable obstacle to surmount. This is where good support and products come into play. Martin put us in touch with 4 Wall Entertainment who was able to come out to our venue and demo the products for us. This was an invaluable help and asset. Now that we knew the look we wanted, we had to go about programming it – which was another challenge!”

Passionate rig
The Passion Play lighting rig consisted of 3 MAC 2000 Wash, 3 MAC 2000 Profiles and 2 MAC 2000 Performance with a Jem ZR 24/7 for atmospheric haze effects. Control was from a Martin LightJockey run via a laptop in the sound/lighting booth. The Wash and the Profiles were flown from an overhead 40’ truss with the 2 MAC 2000 Performance located in the Crow’s Nest area in the venue’s balcony.

“Even though we did not use a lot of lighting fixtures, the ones we used supplied us with so many options with their features – for example the MAC 2000 Performance’s animation wheel and the shuttering capability – that we were able to create a multitude of different atmospheres, effects, and illusions to produce a rich and grand show,” Steven states. “One of the looks we wanted to achieve was the illusion of water in which members of our cast would ‘wade’ in. We used the MAC 2000 Performance with its animation wheel and shuttering features to create the look. In another scene, we sought to produce the look and feel of fiery flames. Again, the MAC 2000 Performance was used. In conjunction with the lighting, dry ice and the Martin Hazer were used to produce this stunning and visual effect.”

Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle’s Passion Play ran over two weekends for a total of six performances. “The Martin products performed flawlessly for us over the entire duration,” Steven says.

Big and small alike
“Jamey Brock from Martin was indispensable with helping us navigate the ins-and-outs of LightJockey,” Steven continues. “With great products and fantastic support, we were able to pull this transformation off. I would personally like to thank Martin and 4 Wall for taking an interest in a smaller, amateur venue like ours and for treating us as if we were lighting designers/programmers for a big production house on Broadway!”