Black-Light Theatre - Ta Fantastica

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Believe it or not, black-light theater is one big optical illusion (the black cabinet trick), which takes advantage of your imperfect human eye: that you can’t distinguish black-on-black. Puppets and props, controlled by actors dressed in black, seem to move of their own accord right in front of you. Only music, expressive dance, and specific technical tricks communicate the story for the audience, without the use of spoken word.

The basic black cabinet trick has been around a long time, originating from China where it was being used to amuse Chinese emperors. Due to its success, the trick later spread to Japan in the 18th century, where it was employed in Japanese bunraku puppet theaters. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Georges Méliès, a French illusionist and filmmaker, began to use the black-light trick for his productions. It soon caught on and in the 1950s the trick appeared in a play by avant-garde French puppeteers—George Lafaye is regarded as the father of black-light theater to this day. But let’s not forget that the trick was also employed by other masters of theater, for example Stanislavski in his famous production “The Blue Bird”.

Since its beginning in the 1980s, Ta Fantastika Theater has fostered intensive work with actors and dramatic situations to create the poetry that is black-light theater. It has pioneered the use of unique and patented technical tricks such as actors flying in space, or large-screen projections combining with live action and larger-than-life puppets.