Saturday, December 10, 2005

Black Light Theater

I went to the Ta Fantastika Black Light Theatre. Black light theatre is a uniquely Czech artform developed in the 60s. I saw their performance called "Aspects of Alice," which is loosely based on Alice in Wonderland, though it uses that as a starting point and has a story about Alice coming of age. Live actors (mimes) interact with elements that are manipulated by puppeteers wearing black velvet, with a black background, so that you (generally) don't see anything but the elements floating in space. The lighting is a combination of black light and tightly controlled spot lighting. Scenic elements are rendered in fluorescent colors (in a wacky 60s style) and different parts of the scenic elements are distinct (such as buildings on a street) so they move and hover and dance into place. They also use candles quite a bit, a few puppets, and (presumably) some wires to make Alice twirl around in the sky. They also raise and lower black curtains quickly, to get elements to appear and disappear apparently instantly. There was also some animation projected onto the performance, either on translucent screens across the front or onto particular elements in the scene. The story is all visual and musical, there's no dialogue. The music is a combination of modern syntho-music and some Czech classical hits (The Moldau from Ma Vlast by Smetana, Slavonic Dances by Dvorak). The person next to me said, "well, that was different!" I had a good time.