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Sherlock Holmes | Geffen Playhouse


When it was time for the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles to mount their production of the drama ‘Mysterious Circumstances,’ which explores the death of the world’s foremost Sherlock Holmes expert — and includes Holmes himself — they turned to equipment from RC4 Wireless. “I have personally been working with RC4 products for 5 years now, but the theatre has been working with the gear much longer.  We actually have an RC4 Wireless Series 2 transceiver packed away,” notes Ramine Ameli, Lighting and Projection Supervisor.

‘Mysterious Circumstances’ was chock full of action. “There ended up being a scene change every three minutes or so. So, having lots of different set pieces that could move around freely without wires really established every location,” notes Ameli.

As for the plot, “The show revolved around a box of unpublished Sherlock Holmes manuscripts, so we had three identical boxes equipped with different gags. All three boxes used an RC4 Wireless DMX2dim. The first box appeared to be floating during pre-show, and as the show began, the keyhole light-up -LED tape in a mold- and the box appeared to get sucked into the keyhole. The second version of the box had a glowing keyhole but did not open up. This was to have the audience associate this box with the one they saw in the beginning. The third version of the box had LED tape inside it to light up someone’s face as they looked into it,’ Ameli explains.

That wasn’t the only wireless used in the production. Ameli explains: “We had two tracking projections screens that were framed by brick columns that had up light scrapes and a streetlight; we also three bookshelf wagons that had additional street lights in them,” says Ameli. All were controlled via RC4 2.4GHz dimmers.  “We also had a flying picture frame that had LED tape in it and a couple of furniture units that were carried on and dresses with lamps, an answering machine with a red blinking light, and a faux oil light lamp. We also had a mobile fireplace where we gutted a portable heater shaped like a log fire.  It had several strips of LED tape in it – controlled via an RC4 DMX4dim – it also had a couple of birdies tucked away to send light out of the fire, and it was also equipped with a tiny fogger that received data via the 6mm DMX through the RC4 dimmer.”

For ‘Mysterious Circumstances,’ Ameli notes:” We used all of our two channel dimmers, and rented three four-channel dimmers.” Ameli has gone the rental route with RC4 before. “This is my second time renting from RC4, and every time it is a breeze. I love that you can assemble your order online and see how much it’s going to cost- which is always at a great price. I haven’t taken advantage of this yet, but the idea that you can purchase the equipment after renting, and have the price be lower is just fantastic.”

The rental department is an integral part of RC4 Wireless. “Renting is a great way for new wireless dimming and DMX users to give RC4 Wireless a try,” notes Aimee Wilson, Director of Customer Support at RC4. She adds: ”Renting is also a terrific budget-friendly option for people who already own RC4 Wireless products to expand their inventory for one particular show or project.”

In the past, she has reached out to RC4 when her team has had technical issues. “The first time I called RC4’s customer service, I was running two different shows with wireless concurrently. I was a little confused, so I gave customer support a call and they were incredibly helpful.  Not only were they great to talk to, but the answers to my questions were so much simpler than I thought. The one-touch configuration is super well thought out,” she says.

As a veteran user of wireless DMX and dimming, Ameli says: “RC4 is hands down the best wireless system out there.  I have a lot of people asking how we do it, and I always point them to RC4 Wireless. I have nothing but great words about RC4 products.”