SET DESIGN, PROPS AND LIGHTING – A BREATHING, PULSATING WORLD OF LIGHT
VOLTA’s stage has a pulse and a life its own. In a heartbeat, it can turn from a dark, stone-dead quarry into a cathedral of light.
Stone, light and the human element – The landscape – a granite quarry – looks like it was mined out of a gigantic rock. It is a manmade, geometrically variable environment, constantly changing and adapting to the storyline. The light breaking through the background and the stage floor and emanating from WAZ’s Cube makes the stage breathe. When the characters of VOLTA invade this seemingly cold environment, the set literally comes to life.
The outer ring of the circular stage is a revolving plate with footlights that illuminate the performances. It is used to generate kinetic energy on stage as well as move props and artists. Three slim, articulated hydraulic lifts emerge from the stage floor to populate the space above the stage. Higher up, a bridge that spans two of the Big Top’s four masts can move gracefully up and down to modulate the audience’s focus and serve as a second stage. All of the mechanics on stage provide a showcase for the story that is about to unfold.
The Cube, a magic box where past and present collide – The Cube, WAZ’s refuge where he keeps treasured childhood mementos, represents the duality of the main character. It is a 5,900 kg, highly versatile mechanical device – one of the iconic symbols in the world of VOLTA. The Cube can pivot and move upstage and downstage. Two of its movable panels are used for delivering video content.
But beyond the stagecraft and the mechanics, the Cube is a pivotal element in the VOLTA narrative. A theatre décor in its own right, it is the refuge where WAZ can conjure up memories from his childhood in private and out of sight. From WAZ’S dressing room, the Cube turns into WAZ’s childhood bedroom. Inside, WAZ rummages through a treasure chest of cherished mementos. At one point, the Cube metaphorically turns into a time capsule when WAZ plays family movies depicting his happy life at home; the two LED panels unfold from the sides of the Cube to deliver the cinematic content for all the audience to see. Past and present collide in this miniature world where big things happen.
A FULL-BLOWN SKATE PARK MOUNTED ON STAGE IN REAL TIME – Because of the limited space under the Big Top – the VOLTA stage is exceptionally deep –, the six massive ramps used in the breathtaking BMX act are of increasing size and slip one inside another, like Russian dolls, when stowed away. The ramps are made of thick, heavy-duty polycarbonate – a material used to make bulletproof glass – and are fully transparent so as not to block the view of spectators sitting in the front rows, who see riders through the ramp come at them at more than 30 km/h. And the material must be strong and resistant, because a rider landing on a ramp generates a force of 12 Gs: twelve times his weight!
Close-ups on sets and props
- The audience has a 240-degree view of the VOLTA stage.
- The bridge that moves vertically above the stage weighs 2,268 kg.
- The wallpaper on the back wall of WAZ’s Cube is perforated with tiny holes to let air through and cool down the two LED panels on its flanks.
- Red symbolizes WAZ’s childhood. All of his cherished mementos, including the chest, the hourglass, the bicycle and the lamp, are red.
- The electrical components of the Cube, such as the rotating motor and the LED panels, are powered by a 200-amp electrical source like the one used in an average home.