Tag Archives: Lighting Design

Work The Angles

A wider beam lets you cover more area, but with less intensity (if all things are equal).

Please Remember:

The opinions expressed are mine only. These opinions do not necessarily reflect anybody else’s opinions. I do not own, operate, manage, or represent any band, venue, or company that I talk about, unless explicitly noted.

Want to use this image for something else? Great! Click it for the link to a high-res or resolution-independent version.

We’re getting close to a time where I might be able to buy a couple of lighting fixtures. It’s been a while since I’ve updated the illumination at my main gig, and my feet are getting itchy. This functionally means that I spend inordinate amounts of time looking at the same lists of products over and over. Hey, you never know – something might change unexpectedly. (Seeing a vendor get new inventory excites me. Toys are rad. Let’s not pretend that they aren’t.)

Whenever you buy a piece of “tech” gear, you inevitably look at the spec sheet. Spec sheets are a great place for manufacturers to fudge, obfuscate, boast, and otherwise engage in Mark-Twainian truth stretching, but they do have their place. Unless they’re completely falsified, you can use a product’s specifications to get a ballpark estimate of whether or not it will meet your needs.

But you have to know what you’re looking for, and perhaps more importantly, you have to know how various product aspects interact. The interaction is key because it profoundly affects how useful or not useful a given offering is for your application.

One thing that gets both audio and lighting buyers in trouble is to ignore the interaction factor and just focus on a single number. In particular, both audio and lighting humans can become overly fixated on power. That is, the question of how many watts a device can consume. It’s not bad to start by looking at the power, but a place where you can get in trouble is to ignore how that power is used or delivered.

For instance, let’s take a couple of similar, hypothetical loudspeakers that are on a “let’s buy something” shortlist. One can handle 500 watts continuous, and the other can handle 1000 watts continuous. Easy choice, right? Well…what if the 500-watt box is 4 dB more sensitive in the frequency range we need? In that case, the 1000 watt box isn’t actually superior. Sure, it handles more power, but if both boxes are at full tilt it’s actually going to have ever-so-slightly LESS acoustical output than the 500-watt offering. It’s not just the power that matters. It’s what that power ultimately results in that’s useful (or not).

There are, of course, lots of other wrinkles beyond just brute-force output, but I needed a simple example.

Lighting is similar. If you’re dealing with essentially comparable fixtures, then more power equals more light. Where you can get tripped up, though, is when what you THINK are comparable fixtures aren’t actually. If you live in a realm dominated by LED-powered luminaires, you’re in a world where the boundaries are still being poked and prodded. The average output-per-watt next year may well be an improvement over this year, so simply comparing two fixtures’ LED-engine power draws won’t tell you the whole story.

There’s something else, though. Something that can have a dramatic effect on whether or not a fixture is correct for your application. It can be a bit insidious, because it can occur in two fixtures that have the same light source, the same body, the same control features, and basically the same price.

The “it” I’m referring to is the optics involved in the light. Change the optics around and one light will be fine for you, where the other might be a bad choice. It all comes down to angles.


The Lumen Starts Fights, But Lux Finishes Them

The number of lumens produced by a light source (incandescent, LED, fluorescent, whatever) is a measure of how much visible light that thing is emitting. The lumen measurement is thoroughly disinterested in whether or not that energy is actually traveling in a useful direction, or focused into a beam, or anything else. It means only that a certain amount of human-visible radiation is flowing out of an emitter.

A 1000 lumen emitter spits out 1000 lumens whether you’re right next to it, or huddled in a cave on some other planet in another galaxy. The reference frame (the location of the observer vs. the location of the emitter) is essentially irrelevant.

This is different from lux.

Lux is the amount of visible light that is meeting a given surface. For lux, the reference frame matters a lot, and that makes lux much more useful as a measure of whether a light fixture will actually work for a given application. Lux is derived from lumens, in that it describes lumens per square meter. In a certain sense, lux tells you how much of a light’s output is available to do something useful for you after that light has traveled to where you need it.

Yeah, okay, great. Why does this mean that optics matter so much?

Well, look at that description of lux again. If you have the same number of lumens, but you spread them out over a greater area, the lux drops. If you focus 1000 lumens worth of visible radiation into one square meter, you have 1000 lux. If the beam spread changes such that those 1000 lumens are spread over two square meters, you have 500 lux. That’s a significant difference in how much a focus target (a performer, a sweet-looking drumkit, a rad guitar, etc.) is being illuminated.

Let me give you a more concrete example. There’s some math involved, but it’s worthwhile math.

The Difference Between 13 and 26

There’s a certain entry-level “moving head” spotlight available these days that comes in different variants. One variant uses optics that create a 13 degree beam, and the other has optics that produce a 26 degree beam. A person could look at the form factors of the different variants, as well as the rated wattage of their emitters, and conclude that the lights are the same – but that would be incorrect. The lights will not have the same performance, because the optics are different.

I don’t want to assume anything specific about the lumens generated by the fixtures’ light engines, so this might get a little abstract. Even so, the point here is comparison and not exact numbers, to that’s fine.

So, let’s call the lumens generated by the fixtures’ LEDs “Output.” The question is, how much of that output is available to do cool-lookin’ stuff? That question is answered by how much output we get per unit of area, or lux (if we’re using lumens and square meters). The question now is how to figure out the area the light is covering.

The first thing to determine is the shape of the area we’re trying to calculate. To make things easier, let’s just assume that the light hits “dead on.” If the light beam is a cone, then a “dead on” illumination at some point along the beam results in a circular cross-section.



Since the cross-section is a circle, there is only one unknown required to get its area: The radius. The radius is proportional to the beam’s throw-length, because a cone’s absolute radius increases in proportion to the cone’s height. Neat – but how do we figure it all out? Well, if you use your imagination (and squint a bit), you can start to see that a conical light-beam is a sort of “lathed” right-triangle, and that triangle has a base with a length that is, in fact, the radius we need.


If only there were some way to analyze a right-triangle to get the numbers we need.

Trigonometry to the rescue! (We say it “trig-onometry,” but what we really mean is “trigon-ometry.” It’s all about measuring trigons – polygons with three sides. Triangles, in other words.)

Let’s start with something we can arbitrarily define, like the throw-length. Let’s say that our focus target is about five meters from our light (a bit over 15 feet). To find the proportion between the base/ radius length and the height/ throw, with us also knowing the beam angle (13 degrees), the most handy trigonometric function is probably tangent.

There’s a wrinkle, though. The angle we need to use with respect to tangent is NOT 13 degrees. Thirteen degrees in the “full” beam angle, but our triangle cuts the beam in half. What we need to use is the beam angle divided by two.

So, here’s how it all works (by the way – someone should definitely check my math):

Tan(13/2) = 0.114 (The radius is 0.114 X the throw-distance)

0.114 X 5m throw = 0.570m radius

(0.570m radius)^2 X pi = 1.02m squared

So, the 13 degree light has “Output”/1.02 available for doing cool stuff when you’re 5 meters away.

What about the 26 degree light?

Tan(26/2) = 0.231 (The radius is 0.231 X the throw-distance)

0.231 X 5m throw = 1.154m radius

(1.154m radius)^2 X pi = 4.186m squared

At the same distance, the 26 degree light has “Output”/4.186 available for lighting things.

In other words, the 26 degree variant will cover more area, but will also have an apparent brightness that is about one-quarter of the 13 degree light. Again, both lights might look the same. The LED at their hearts might be exactly the same thing.

But they simply will not perform the same way, which means that you might not be able to successfully interchange them in the context of your application.

Read those spec-sheets carefully.

Consider the interactions.

Work the angles.

No Fog? No Haze? No Problem!

…if you’re prepared, of course.

Please Remember:

The opinions expressed are mine only. These opinions do not necessarily reflect anybody else’s opinions. I do not own, operate, manage, or represent any band, venue, or company that I talk about, unless explicitly noted.

Want to use this image for something else? Great! Click it for the link to a high-res or resolution-independent version.

Fog and haze are sometimes unwelcome.

It’s a shame, because I love the way that atmospheric effects make lighting “rock.” At the same time, though, I have to respect the fact that some folks just can’t handle breathing a bunch of stuff that’s been shot into the air. Also – even though I haven’t done a show in a random room for a long time – I have to respect that some venues don’t (or can’t) allow “atmo.” Some places have had bad experiences with residue and dangerously-slick dancefloors. Some places have fire alarms that trip easily, and automatically call the fire department, which is bad if there isn’t actually a fire. (Seriously, if a venue says “no fog, and no haze,” you need to listen. Your life could get very expensive in a huge hurry.)

“But we need atmospherics!” you complain. “The show isn’t the same without seeing the beams!”

Hey…I get it. Like I said up there, I’m a lover of haze. Even with the simple setup that I currently use, I love how the colors from the backlights cut diagonal lines across the stage picture. If I don’t have a specific reason to keep the hazer disabled, I’m going to run it.

So, what can you do if you’ve got a beautifully crafted, beam-filled light show all ready to go – and then someone tells you that atmospherics are out of the question?

Well, it’s time for some problem solving, and problem solving is made much easier when the bedrock principles of what you’re doing are “top of mind.” What’s the basic principle in play with your light show? In my opinion:

The Beam Has To Hit Something

I’ve talked about fog and haze before, but when I did, I was writing with the assumption that people knew why they wanted some kind of “atmo.” I didn’t really get into “first principles” with that article, though.

Light beams CAN be scattered by particles that are quite small when compared to the wavelengths of visible light. This is why the sky is blue, if you didn’t know. The general problem with this as an effect is that you need a really, really large volume of those particles to get anything visible. You also need a very intense light source…something with the luminous flux of, say, the sun. (As it turns out, unrestrained fusion reactions in space are REALLY FREAKING BRIGHT.)

Anyway, “small particle” or “Rayleigh” scattering isn’t really helpful to lighting crafts-humans. Especially in small venues (but pretty much everywhere), we don’t have a lot of air to work with, and we rarely have sunlight-comparable fixtures on hand. As such, we need “big particle” scattering in order to get anything useful. This is where fog and haze come in. Even really fine haze can be enormous when you compare the particle size to light wavelengths. If a very deep red has a wavelength of 700 nanometers, then five-micron haze is about seven times larger. The “particle-size to wavelength fraction” just gets bigger as the light wavelength increases.

The point being that the light smacks into something that’s relatively large, and scatters towards our eyes. When that happens, we get awesome light beams. Liquid sky. Aerial effects. WOOT!

That is, until someone ruins our fun by saying that they don’t want fog or haze to be used. Actually, I shouldn’t really say that, because that’s unprofessional.

See, when a band or venue tells you that they don’t want atmospherics, they probably have a good reason. What’s more, they’re coming to you as a professional and asking you to make your show work within the parameters that they need it to work in. That’s what professional production techs do: They do everything possible to get their show into the parameters that the situation presents.

If the light show needs scattering to look right, but aerial scattering has been removed from the list of allowable parameters, what have you got left?

Screens, Scrims, Banners, and Drape

This is one of those things that’s obvious when you’re reading articles on the Internet, but not so obvious when you’re deep in the throes of getting a light show built. If you’re like me, you tend to focus on your specific vision for what’s going to happen, and then forget about everything else. If a monkeywrench gets thrown, going back to the basic principles of what you’re trying to accomplish can be forgotten in the mad rush to save “the original intent.” I know. I get it.

But when somebody says “No fog or haze!” you can do yourself a great service by remembering the most basic fact of what you’re going for: Light beams that become visible due to striking an object larger than the light wavelength.

If that’s the basic requirement, then I can tell you that projection screens, scrim (material that looks opaque when front-lit, and translucent when backlit), and various kinds of drape definitely fit the bill. Hit those with the lights, and you will definitely see something. Of course, you have to be ready to modify the lighting setup to make this work…and if you’re taking a show on the road, being ready for a no-atmo situation is probably a very good idea. Yes, screens and drape aren’t as foolproof as atmospherics, due to their not being “everywhere.” Still, they’re a lot better than nothing, and can actually look quite good.

For example, here’s just one kind of kaleidoscopic effect you can get with a circular screen and a bunch of colored spots. (This is, of course, exactly what Pink Floyd – and various tribute acts – have done with “Mr. Screen.”)


In the same vein, you can also get some very nifty looks with a “full screen” behind the band and lights arranged in an arc. This is very similar to what The Australian Pink Floyd Show did for their concert at The Royal Albert Hall. (Of course, they also had fog and haze for the movers to shoot through when they weren’t aimed at the screen – but whatever.)


If you have more limited resources, you might consider “floor to whatever height” banners that you can hit.


There are lots of pointers to be had about what to use as “targets.” Obviously, honest-to-goodness movie-screen material will work nicely. Light, gauzy fabrics can also be interesting, but you have to be careful if your fixtures emit a significant amount of heat. White materials provide you with the most flexible “canvas,” but you can also get creative with other colors. Depending on your setup, you may be able to hang drape from your lighting stands. Also, make sure you’ve budgeted enough time to get everything in place and tested.

(I’m sure there are a LOT more particulars to think of, but these are the biggies that came to mind.)

The point is that being denied your atmospheric effects isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it can be an opportunity to do something different and cool.

The Trouble With Mister Floyd

A proposal for a show that incorporates a live, Pink Floyd tribute act with dance.

Please Remember:

The opinions expressed are mine only. These opinions do not necessarily reflect anybody else’s opinions. I do not own, operate, manage, or represent any band, venue, or company that I talk about, unless explicitly noted.

A while back, a friend paid me a compliment. She said that she would love to bring me out to where her ballet company performs, so that I could assist with the audio. She was sure it would be a great show.

(Thanks, Gina! I definitely think it would be cool to work with Ballet Ariel.)

One day, I was in desperate need of a project to do, and I hit upon the idea of melding a full-tilt, Rock and Roll presentation of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” with a similarly full-tilt, dramatic interpretation of the story through ballet.

In the end, I couldn’t quite get the results I wanted by just using “The Wall,” so I pulled in other Pink Floyd songs to introduce themes that would motivate the characters in ways I found interesting. I’m still basically ripping off “The Wall” as it was presenting in cinematic form, just with certain tweaks and a different ending.

Here’s what I ended up with. My guess is that the show could be pulled off for about $250,000 – anybody have any rich uncles who love Pink Floyd?

The Set

The idea for the set is to have a raised area for “Pink” and “Floyd” to perform, which is backed by a large platform for the band. The band area is roughly halfway enclosed by plexiglass sound barriers, which keep the band mostly visible while reducing their stagevolume’s contribution to sound in the house.

It is critical that the stage be well braced. Resonance from the platforms could be a huge sonic problem otherwise. The band portion of the stage should be carpeted, to help absorb sound.

The cost to construct the stage will probably be around $10,000.

The thumbnails below link to full-size versions of the pictures.

The Lighting Rig

The lighting rig is a huge piece of the show’s “soul,” and is also the show’s largest technological element. It is meant to be a primary driver of the show’s emotion and pacing, at a level equal to the physical movement by the performers and the music provided by the band.

A certain amount of restraint will be necessary, because the temptation will probably be to overuse the rig. We do want it to do some exciting things, and to do those things fairly frequently – but not so frequently that the audience simply filters the light show from their mind.

The experiment inherent in the rig is that there is no traditional front-lighting. Everything is from the side and/ or above. This is something of a risk, but the risk can be mitigated by performing the show in a space where front-lighting is already installed. The key luminaires, FX devices, rigging, and video gear are as follows:

  • 2 Haze Generators
  • 4 Geyser RGB Fog FX Units
  • 42 SlimPAR 12 IRC Sidelights
  • 48 SlimBANK Over-side lights
  • 28 BeamBAR Beam FX Units
  • 24 Intimidator Duo Moving Heads
  • 1 Rear projection screen
  • 1 5000+ ANSI lumen projector
  • 95 4′ sections of Featherlite Truss
  • 20 Featherlite square truss connectors

These pieces, along with their associated control gear, cabling, and miscellaneous items, are estimated to cost $67,000.

The Complete Stage, With Figures For Scale

The FOH Audio Rig

Like the lighting rig, the audio system needs to be extensive enough to be “big,” but the temptation to overuse it will have to be resisted. To that end, it seems reasonable to set a goal of having 50% of the audience experience an average level of no more than 100 dB SPLZ, slow. (Ideally, 94 dB SPLZ, slow would be the upper limit.)

Specifics in terms of the audio rig are not as important as those of the lighting rig. Many different kinds of subwoofer could be suitable, for example. In general, the audio system should include:

  • 8, 18-inch subwoofers
    • 4 amplifiers
  • 8, 15-inch subwoofers
    • 4 amplifiers
  • 8, 15-inch LF full-range enclosures, biamped, for the main stacks.
    • 8 amplifiers
  • 8, 12-inch LF full range enclosures, biamped, for the main stacks.
    • 8 amplifiers
  • 4, 15-inch LF full range enclosures, single amped, for surround FX.
    • 2 amplifiers
  • 10, 12 inch LF full range enclosures, single amped, for various fills.
    • 5 amplifiers

This FOH audio rig, along with its associated control and processing gear, could be built at a low-end cost of $25,000. The high end cost, of course, is unlimited. The cost does increase considerable when a monitor rig, mics, and accessories are added, but these have been left out for brevity.

The Cast

The overall imperative for any cast member is to be able, and indeed, delighted, to perform in a “full-tilt rock and roll” show with a live band, atmospheric effects like haze and fog, as well as lights that move and change rapidly at times.

Floyd: The main character.

It’s absolutely imperative that Floyd be VERY strong at duet and solo work, and also able to emote in ways that will seem very concrete and natural to the audience.

Mother: Floyd’s Mom

She will need to be a good soloist, but even more important is her ability to work well in a duet. Like Floyd, she needs to be able to project emotions in a very obvious and relatable way.

Daddy: Floyd’s Dad

The most important thing for this cast member is his ability to act in a vaguely menacing (but still palpably unsettling) way towards Floyd in several scenes. He only ever appears as a ghost. Some competence as a soloist and in duets will be required, but deep experience is probably not necessary – unless the choreographer decides to create some technically challenging moments for him, of course.

Pink: Floyd’s best friend.

He mostly needs to be able to be convincing as a young person who is “partners in crime” with Floyd. However, there is one key moment, late in the show, where he will need to deliver on some key emotions as a ghost. This may be a good part for a dancer who is just ready to transition into duets and solos.

The Groupies: Two “hangers-on” who get close to Floyd and Pink, briefly.

Both will need to be able to project an obvious (but NOT overdone) sort of “average intelligence rock girlfriend” persona. The twist is that, in one scene, they must be able to project a marked prowess as they dance, sensually, with Floyd and Pink. The Groupie who ends up with Floyd will need just that much more emotional ability than The Groupie who ends up with Pink.

The Company: Everybody else. Certain characters may be drawn from the company pool, if necessary.

The company plays concert goers, teachers, schoolkids, regular folks, and so on. The cast members who are the strongest technical and emotional performers should be selected to fill the roles of Pink and Floyd’s teacher, the “undesirables” singled out during In The Flesh, and so on.

The Show

Note: This section is not consistent in terms of details. The really important things are
specified, but there is quite a bit that will have to be determined later.

The audience is seated with the main curtain down. House-light flashes and aural tones should signal 5 minutes, 2 minutes, and 1 minute to show.

The show actually begins with the house-lights up. This is to promote safety for The Company, because they enter through the house. As they walk through the audience seating, they should chatter excitedly about being able to get into the “Pink and Floyd Concert,” amongst other things.

The house-lights dim slowly. The Company should offer the appropriate banter like, “Oh, wow!” and “It’s starting!”

The house goes black, as completely black as possible without compromising safety. The Company goes silent.

After a few seconds…

Prologue – In The Flesh?

The stage explodes with color, light, and sound. Pink and Floyd have started their show. The Company goes wild (silently, as they’re now in full “dance” mode) and go up to the stage to give their rapt attention to Floyd.

[Important – after this point, unless otherwise stated, all cast members are always silent. References to saying things, shouting, narration, etc, are to be mimed or danced and not actually vocalized.]

Although what Floyd sings might be a little confusing, lyrically, The Company is completely enthralled and joyful.

At the ending and plane crash, The Company erupts in celebration…and then freezes at the climax of light and sound.

The screen reads: “Bomber Shot Down – Crew Missing, Presumed Dead”

The Thin Ice

Daddy, as a ghost, stands a bit upstage. Downstage, Mother comforts Floyd, “singing” the song to him.

The Company “ice skates” around Mother and Floyd. When the music rises, Floyd tries to move away from Mother and interact with the “skaters,” but Mother, frightened, clings to him.

Another Brick In The Wall, Part 1

Mother and The Company exit the stage. Floyd attempts to reach Daddy, but he keeps retreating from Floyd’s touch.

The Happiest Days Of Our Lives

The screen reads: “School begins at 8:00 sharp! Tardiness will not be tolerated.”

Floyd finds Pink, and they “go hide” somewhere to have an illicit smoke. They are of course, found by their teacher, who “shouts” at them to “STAND STILL LADDIE!”

The teacher catches Pink, but Floyd gets away and comes downstage to “narrate” to the audience.

As the music rises, The Company (some as teachers, some as students) enter.

Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2

This entire scene is Pink, Floyd, and the students having a passive-aggressive battle. The teachers should turn their backs to give the students the opprotunity to “shout.” (“HEY TEACHER! LEAVE THEM KIDS ALONE!”) The students should be just barely restrained when the teachers are looking at them.

As the scene closes, Floyd goes home and goes to bed. There is silence. Floyd falls asleep, and then Daddy appears as a ghost.

Floyd jolts upright.

Welcome To The Machine

Daddy shows Floyd a vision of a possible future life. In this life, everyone has been “good girls and boys,” and are now productive (but somewhat lifeless) workers in a factory. The work is boring and mechanical.

The screen reads: “Work begins at 8:00 sharp. Late arrivals must be pre-approved with form 86-T, and you must contact your supervisor, undersupervisor, and supersupervisor three weeks in advance.”

There are blasts of steam (actually fog) throughout the scene.

As Daddy “talks” to Floyd, he should whisper in his ears, move around him in an almost predatory fashion, and invade Floyd’s personal space often. However, at no point should Daddy and Floyd actually touch.

There should be a sense of mounting horror (on Floyd’s part) at the prospect of being put to work in the factory.


Suddenly, the clocks strike. Horrified, Floyd watches as the factory workers fall over, lifeless.

The factory workers slowly rise, and help Daddy by acting out his “narration” of the song. At first, they move as carefree youths, but then seem to panic as the guitar solo comes in. An unseen terror is chasing them.

At the mention of the sun, they run out of energy and start collapsing. Less and less able to move. They seem to be dying off. Things seem to be falling out of their hands.

As the song ends, Daddy walks away.


Floyd wakes up, and finds his mother for support.

Mother tries to reassure Floyd. At first she seems successful, but as her parts of the song progress, it’s made clear that all she’s capable of is clinging to Floyd, preventing him from getting out of her sight.

At the end of the song, Floyd becomes abruptly repulsed. He runs off.

On The Run

Mother pursues Floyd, but can’t seem to catch up to him. Floyd links up with Pink, and they start to “write songs,” and “play shows” to The Company. Whenever Mother gets close, Pink, Floyd, and The Company always move on, looking cheery.

At the “boom,” the screen reads: “Pink and Floyd Song a Smash Hit!” The foggers let out a large, sustained blast.

Learning To Fly

Pink and Floyd perform their hit song to their adoring fans (The Company). Floyd seems free and happy, and The Company is ecstatic. The only one not seeming to enjoy things is Mother, who is unintentionally overwhelmed by the crowd and unable to get close to her son. She is essentially invisible to everyone.

(Mother’s part shouldn’t be too big in this scene – it has a dampening effect on the emotional tone, and this scene is meant to be one of the few really happy ones.)

Have A Cigar

The screen reads: “Pink and Floyd Continue Topping The Charts!”

Pink and Floyd are being wined, dined, congratulated, back-slapped, and buttered up by The Company as recording industry execs. In terms of formation, there are three areas:

The center, where Pink and Floyd spend most of their time.

The inner circle, where the execs are fawning over Pink and Floyd.

The outer circle, where the execs “talk” amongst themselves, count their money, and anticipate a very profitable future.

At the end of the scene, Pink and Floyd walk off, and are met by The Groupies.


Pink and Floyd take The Groupies out for a night of partying. This scene should be very unambiguously about conspicuous consumption, and (at least) heavily imply that the characters fall into using alcohol and hard drugs. These are young people caught up in an imaginary-yet-real world where they can have anything they want. Pink should be noticeably more affected by his drinking and drug use than Floyd. The Groupies mostly act as starry-eyed hangers-on.

Young Lust

The screen reads: “Pink and Floyd – Are These The Girlfriends? Exclusive Photos Inside!”

The Groupies definitely want to hang on to Pink and Floyd, and so now they reveal their true prowess – sensuality. This scene should provide a great opportunity for The Groupies to show off movement that is an order of magnitude more fluid and technically impressive than what they’ve done before.

At the guitar solo, Pink and his Groupie run off, leaving Floyd and his Groupie to do a short, but intense duet.

At the end of the scene, the song ends and silence falls. Suddenly, the phone rings. Floyd picks is up, and reacts with disbelief, then shock and grief. He and his Groupie exit.

The screen reads: “Pink Dead in Auto Accident. Substance Abuse a Factor?”

The Great Gig In The Sky

Pink starts out bewildered. The Groupie is lying lifeless nearby. As the vocal part comes in, The Company enters as angels. They “wake” The Groupie, and escort both her and Pink to heaven. They both look apprehensive as they arrive, but it’s soon clear that they’re both pardoned. They go off happily, trailed by The Company.

Wish You Were Here

Floyd is alone and dejected. All he has to express is his grief in a lengthy solo. He is alternately lit dimly and in silhouette.

At the end of the song, Floyd sits down and switches on a TV. He becomes cold and distant.

One Of My Turns

The Groupie enters, and, oblivious to Floyd’s feelings at the start, does her routine of being fantastically impressed by the house. She tries to get Floyd’s attention, but becomes crestfallen as all her strategies fail.

Floyd begins his part in a self-absorbed way, seemingly oblivious to The Groupie. However, as the song’s intensity rises. He begins interacting with her.

The key thing for this part is that The Groupie does feel threatened by Floyd, but not in the same way as Floyd was threatened by Daddy earlier. Floyd is not a creeping, psychological menace. In fact, he doesn’t mean to threaten her at all – he’s dangerous because he’s suddenly gone manic.

At the end of the scene, The Groupie runs off in terror.

Don’t Leave Me Now

Floyd is now alone, and not by choice. The Company enters, but stands in a semi-circle upstage, their backs turned to Floyd.

At the guitar solo, The Company suddenly turns and tries to get Floyd’s attention. They are now fans, people who desperately want attention from the semi-mythical figure they’ve constructed for themselves.

At the end of the scene, Floyd becomes enraged.

Another Brick In The Wall, Part 3

Floyd angrily chases The Company away, rejecting everyone and everything. He is, briefly a very intentional menace.

Goodbye Cruel World

Floyd, with very muted movement, expresses his alienation.


Floyd spends this entire scene down center, brightly lit, with his head down. He moves very little throughout the lengthy song.

In turns, everyone who Floyd has hurt enters and “has their say.” Mother first, then The Groupie, then members of The Company as fans.

Daddy enters as a ghost, and moves close to Floyd accusingly. Pink also enters as a ghost, and is clearly unhappy with what’s going on. It should be clear that he’s not really upset with Floyd. Concerned would be more accurate.

Near the end of the scene, one or two members of The Company (as recording execs) come on stage and force Floyd to his feet. They are demanding that he keep playing.

The screen reads: “Can The Show Go On?”

In The Flesh

Floyd is still alienated, but gets onstage to do the show. The fans are less animated this time. They’re even a little confused – especially as Floyd says “Pink isn’t well, he’s stayed back at the hotel.” (Pink is very, unambiguously dead, and they know it – but Floyd is in denial. If this can’t be readily expressed through movement, that’s fine. Sometimes a few unanswered questions in an audiences mind are perfectly acceptable.)

As Floyd starts suggesting that people who don’t fit be put “up against the wall,” the fans very quickly (and frighteningly) go along with him. They reject, threaten, and throw out anyone that Floyd points out.

At the climax of the song (which is the end), Floyd runs off by himself. He doses himself with drugs, and falls asleep in the silence.

Two Suns In The Sunset

Pink enters as a ghost. He presents Floyd with a vision of the future, much like Daddy did. In this future, the UK is destroyed in a nuclear attack. Pink is much more sympathetic than Daddy, although Floyd is a little frightened of him.

Although the presentation of this piece is concrete, the intention is that the nuclear attack is a metaphor for the self-destructive behavior that Pink and Floyd have engaged in. The trouble is that expressing a complex and non-concrete concept like that is probably impossible, so we just have to leave things ambiguous.

Comfortably Numb

The screen reads: “The Show Must Go On”

In the silence, Floyd wakes up. He doses himself again, and then, in a daze, goes onstage to do a show.

The Company enters as fans. They are facing Floyd, and interact with him, but they are strangely distant and move slowly. Pink and Daddy enter as ghosts and observe. Daddy is disapproving. Pink is worried.

Near the end, Mother enters. She has finally found Floyd, and manages to get close. As the song ends, in the silence, Floyd waits for the crowd’s adulation. However, he hasn’t done what they want. They become angry, and try to get their hands on him. Daddy is egging them on.

Run Like Hell

Floyd is now the target of The Company. Daddy chases Pink away. Mother is pushed down and out of the way. Floyd’s star has now fallen completely, and the crowd wants vengeance.

Floyd is finally cornered, and roughly pulled to center stage.

The Trial

Daddy stands up-center. The Company enters and flanks him. They join hands, and “speak” with one voice during the trial, becoming a composite character. They slowly close in on Floyd.

The final pronouncement of the court belongs to Daddy. He suddenly separates from The Company and gets right in Floyd’s face. At the order to “Tear down the wall!” The Company sets upon Floyd.

There are flashes as the explosion sounds.

Outside The Wall

As the lights come up we see Floyd cowering. Downstage, we see Mother, who has fallen. Daddy’s ghost enters, and angrily tries to get his hands on Floyd. Before he can get there, though, Pink’s ghost heads him off. Pink gently beckons to Daddy, and they move upstage right.

The Groupie enters, and tries to help Mother to her feet. Floyd looks up and sees them. He approaches, and takes their hands.

A change comes over Daddy, and he follows Pink into a strong light coming from offstage up-right.

Fade to blackout.


The band begins playing an instrumental version of “In The Flesh?” They vamp the middle part as necessary to extend the piece.

If at all possible, each member of the cast should be given the opportunity to bow as an individual. After the cast has finished, they part to allow a good look at the band, who takes their bow by way of playing the ending to the song.

Immediate blackout – main curtain, house lights.