Responding to the murder of Eric Garner, The Ritual of Breath is a meditative and immersive opera that follows the voice of a daughter who has lost her father to police violence. The opera incorporates music, text, visuals, and movement as the daughter, who is an artist and activist, gathers her community to create and participate in a ritual of healing. After premiering at Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center for the Arts and Stanford Live, the production will continue to travel across the United States. With needs for reliable gear that can easily travel on & off stage, and on tour, Lighting Designer Reza Behjat turned towards Rosco’s DMG DASH as the perfect solution for a unique lighting position.
Multiple scenes within The Ritual of Breath contain a live camera feed of a performer onstage projecting onto an upstage screen. Needing to create a key light for those scenes, Reza recalled how he wanted “a soft light source that was camera-friendly and could change color for different scenes.” Knowing that Rosco’s DMG DASH was designed for filmmakers, Reza knew it would work well on camera. He also knew the fixture’s broad color spectrum not only enabled the fixture to mix any color he could conceive, but that it could also create over 130 True Rosco Color™ gel matches thanks to Rosco’s patented MIX® Technology. With a broad range of colors that looked great on camera – DMG DASH ticked two of the boxes Reza needed for this production.
A DMG DASH illuminates Soprano Neema Bickersteth singing on a table while a camera projects her performance onto a screen behind her.
Reza also needed the key light to be small and completely wireless. “The light source was not hung in a permanent position,” Reza recalled, noting how “it was attached to a camera sidearm that would be brought up to the stage by a performer for two or three different scenes, and then the whole rig would get struck until it was needed again.” The 5″ x 3.1″ x 1.1″ (12.8cm x 8cm x 2.8cm) DMG DASH is battery-operated with a three-hour continuous lifespan at full, and the CRMX DASH unit features wireless DMX via LumenRadio. Because of all those features, Reza specified DMG DASH, outfitted with its included Dome diffuser, as the compact and wireless light source to illuminate the onstage action that was projected upstage.
A Rosco DMG DASH is mounted directly to a camera stand that was brought on & off stage as needed.
Production Electrician Lily Ten Eyck and Production Manager Jessie Sullivan set up the wireless control using a CRMX transmitter during tech at Dartmouth. Reza noted how once the original setup was complete, the DMG DASH was “so easy to remount” when they moved on to Stanford Live. “Since we knew that the show was going to tour, I wanted to purchase a reliable source that could travel with the show and deliver the exact same quality that we created for the original production.”
Neema Bickersteth and members of the recorded chorus in Movement 1 of The Ritual of Breath.
Color mixing – wireless DMX control – battery power – and a compact design - all combined to make DMG DASH the right choice for this touring and visual-heavy production. While researching fixtures for this project, Reza said, “The DMG DASH was the best option in the market that I could find.” If you would like to learn more about this versatile LED kit for your next production visit rosco.com/dash.
To learn more about The Ritual of Breath, and to see if it’s touring to a city near you, visit: ritualofbreath.org.
The Ritual of Breath Design Team:
Scenic & Projection Design: Peter Nigrini
Lighting Design: Reza Behjat
Costume Design: Gabriel Berry
Reza Behjat is an Obie Award-winning lighting designer based in New York City. He began his career in Iran - where he worked with some prominent directors for several years. Reza’s works have been shown on Off-Broadway and in regional theaters across the United States, such as The Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Atlantic Theater, MCC, Minetta Lane, Lucille Lortel, The Guthrie Theater, Berkeley Rep, Actors Theater of Louisville, and many more. Reza won an Obie Award in the design category for his work on two productions of ENGLISH and WISH YOU WERE HERE in 2023. In addition, alongside the cast and the creative team of ENGLISH, he received a Special Citation from the Obie Award. He also won the prestigious Knight of Illumination Award for NINA SIMONE: FOUR WOMEN in 2019.
If you’d like to see Reza’s design portfolio (and discover his street photography), you can visit his website: rezabehjat.com, or follow @rza_behjat on Instagram.