Prague troupe scores a hit in China
Black Light Theatre Srnec brought a little 'magic' to Shanghai
Posted: August 21, 2013
Black Light Theatre Srnec is taking The Flying Bicycle on an extended tour.
By Ewa Manthey
For the Post
The Czech ensemble Black Light Theatre Srnec delighted the Shanghai audiences once again with the performance of their newest show The Flying Bicycle.
This was the second time the group visited Shanghai; the first time was in August 2012. Their performance Antalogia was staged 14 times for audiences in Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Shaoxing, Yueyang and cities in Henan Province.
Their newest production is set at the turn of the century. It tells a tale of a young inventor who is so fascinated with the wings of birds that he is obsessed with the idea of creating a flying bicycle. After many failed attempts, he falls in love with a girl and discovers that only love can defy gravity.
While Prague is home to many black light ensembles, so much so that it seems quite commonplace, the art form is still a novelty in much of the world. "I really enjoyed this show," said Li Chen, who watched one of the performances in Shanghai, after the troupe staged it in Beijing. "It was something special and different, comparing to all the other foreign shows I usually get to watch. I liked the illusion of the objects that seemed to move themselves. It was like a magic show," she added.
There were also some foreigners in the audience. "This is the second time I got to see the show in China," said Alex White, who is an expat from the United Kingdom living and working in Shanghai with his family. "I came to see their performance with my children last year when they were touring China for the first time. My kids enjoyed it so much that we decided to come and see it again this year. We were not disappointed. It was a great way to spend an evening with your family. I hope the group will come back to Shanghai again," White added.
The Black Light Theatre Srnec was established in 1961 by Jiří Srnec and was the world's first black light ensemble. Since the beginning, they have participated in more than 65 international theater festivals and had more than 5 million spectators in 69 countries. The troupe's first international show was in 1962 at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival.
"Black Light Theatre is a world of imagination where everything is possible. We are able to show the world in an unusual way. The impossible is possible. Simply some things are possible only in a black light cabinet," said Jiří Aster Srnec, producer and director of Srnec Productions and son of the founder.
The main principle of black light theater is based on the use of "black cabinet," meaning the black-dressed actors holding the props seem to disappear against a black background creating an illusion that things and objects seem to move themselves.
"My father is a bottomless source of inspiration and imagination," the younger Srnec said. "He is inspired by the world where we all live. That is maybe why his performances are so well appreciated by the audiences all around the world," he added.
In Prague, Black Light Theatre Srnec has their base in the Broadway Passage at Na Příkopě 31, but they will be touring the world until January 2014.
Ewa Manthey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org