CULTURE

More blacklight theater

Crazy astronauts on a transgalactic journey give way to the inventor of a flying bicycle and Alice in her wonderland of dreams as the Coronet Theater in Athens continues its Blacklight Theater Festival. From tomorrow to January 12, the founder of the Black Theater of Prague, Jiri Srnec, will be showing audiences his art at its most refined with «The Flying Bicycle» (Dec. 6-22) and «Alice in Wonderland» (Dec. 23 – Jan. 12). Blacklight theater is based on the art of the black theater which dates back to the courts of 17th century China, where black-clad performers standing in front of a black backdrop would tell stories with puppets and dolls that seemed to move on their own. As a student in Prague, Srnec discovered this technique and refined it to include ultraviolet blacklight, so that the scope of the stage could be extended and reflective objects could add color and a surreal feel to his shows. His dreamlike vision and childlike sense of humor soon established the now 71-year-old stage director, composer, painter and poet as a leading representative of modern Czech theater. Over the past 40 years, Srnec’s Black Theater of Prague has taken part in over 65 festivals worldwide. When the troupe performed early in 1962 at the Edinburgh Festival, a critic from The Times wrote that in the Black Theater’s performance, «dreams take place before your eyes.» The vaudeville-style «Flying Bicycle» is a performance in 10 scenes featuring period costumes and music and choreography that resemble the early days of silent cinema. A young inventor discovers love in the sting of Cupid’s arrow but feels he has no time for such frivolities when he is close to inventing a bicycle that can fly. Soon though, he comes to understand that the only force in the world which can defy gravity is the power of the heart. Based on the adventures of Lewis Carroll’s Alice, Srnec’s adaptation portrays the adventures of the curious young girl in the land of her dreams with cartoon-like props, dreamy costumes, music and lighting tricks which bring to life the magic of the novel. «The Flying Bicycle,» runs from tomorrow to December 22 and «Alice in Wonderland» from December 23 to January 12 at the Coronet Theater, 11 Frynis St, Pangrati, tel 210.701.2123.