Second Blacklight Theater Festival comes to Athens

The Second Festival of Blacklight Theater kicks off at the Coronet Theater in Athens on October 24, with the participation of different groups coming straight from the Czech Republic. Blacklight theater, a drama form highly popular with Greek audiences, is difficult to define: One could dub it as classical, contemporary or even subversive. No matter which description is chosen, the Second Festival promises to present all aspects of blacklight theater. The series of performances starts with the National Black Light Theater of Prague, a group which has performed at the Athens Concert Hall more than once in the past and which will interpret «Gulliver’s Travels» from October 24 to November 2. The show, based on an atmospheric combination of live actors on stage and the screening of a film at the same time, received an award at last year’s international Edinburgh Festival. It describes the imaginary travels of the sailor Gulliver, imprisoned because he dared to narrate the experiences he had in mysterious and unexplored lands. Petr Kratochvil founded the Ta Fantastika Theater 10 years ago, which, at the time, was the only blacklight theater in the United States. At about the same time, Kratochvil’s friend and former colleague Pavel Marek founded a new theater in Prague, the PaOptikum. After the 1989 Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, the merger of these two theaters gave birth to a new group, which kept the name Ta Fantastika and which recently split into two groups, the Ta Fantastika and the National Black Light Theater of Prague. From November 7-17, the Image Theater group will present «Cabinet,» a show based on a cabin which will transfer the audience into a magical universe, full of strange but fascinating creatures. The show’s leading character, Professor Prazak, gives a hilarious performance along with his inventions, combining pantomime, modern dance and blacklight theater techniques. From November 19-30, the same group will present «Kaleidoscope:» Aided by special effects, the group’s dancers create colors, patterns and images that give the impression of a live kaleidoscope. The Jiry Srnec Black Light Theater will end the Festival with a production of «Peter Pan,» which it will interpret from December 3-12. The well-known story of Peter Pan and Captain Hook in Never-Never Land is put on stage using the unique blacklight theater techniques. Directed by Jiry Srnec, the show stars 18 actors and includes fairies, lost children, striking flights, magic powder and Captain Hook’s crocodile. The original and nostalgic music composed for that production promises to be an unforgettable experience to young and old alike. Coronet Theater, 11 Frynis, Pangrati, tel 210.701.2123.