Black Light Theatre
February 8, 2007 8:47 AM   Subscribe

The Black Light Theatre of Prague ("Černé Divadlo" or simply Black Theatre) is a Czech performance style characterised by the use of black box theatre augmented by black light trickery. Although this performance style can be found in many places around the world, nowhere is it more prolific or specialized than in Prague. Some sample images: 1 2 3 4. YouTube: 1 2 3.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (13 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Cool! I think that Circus Du Solei should start using some similar techniques also. Thanks for sharing!
posted by oMoses at 9:03 AM on February 8, 2007

I'd never heard of this before, but it looks really cool. I can't wait to get a chance to see the YouTubes.

How is #4 above black light trickery? It just looks photoshopped to me, but I feel like I'm missing something.
posted by OmieWise at 9:12 AM on February 8, 2007

Toronto has quite a famous black light theater company, which is, interestingly, staffed and performed by people who are disabled.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:14 AM on February 8, 2007

Perhaps the most inspirational use of this performance method is the Famous People Players of Canada.
posted by Shfishp at 9:15 AM on February 8, 2007

I had the chance to see two different black light performances in Prague about six years ago. One was a variation of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine. I highly recommend the black light theaters to anyone asking for things to do/see when visiting that fine city.
posted by vagabond at 9:23 AM on February 8, 2007

Omie, I suppose either the big guy is a live actor and the little guys are projected as video or the other way round; I can't really tell though due to the framing. Judging by the level of detail on the giant however I would guess that the little people are projected.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:40 AM on February 8, 2007

Aha! I was just about to comment that I'd seen some neat black-light theater a number of years ago, but upon seeing the links it appears that I actually saw the aforementioned Famous People Players. I remember a great "striptease" number in which an invisible stripper removed article after article of visible clothing, eventually vanishing completely.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:58 AM on February 8, 2007

A word of caution regarding the art form in Prague, specifically. While I don't recall the name of the theater at which I saw a black-light performance, I am quite positive that it was not one which would have been recommended by the trusted friend who advised me "you must go to the black-light theater!"

In short: find a reputable theater and some consistent reviews as not all the black-light companies in Prague are, well, good. I suspect there might have been a calculation along the lines of "this black-light thing is a big tourist draw... we just need some black velvet and gro-lights, right?"

I'm genuinely disappointed I didn't have time to try another (better-researched) venue, but my black-light experience was... amateurish and unsatisfactory.

This only means I must visit there again, which is just ducky for me.
posted by abulafa at 10:23 AM on February 8, 2007

I saw the "Black light Theater of Prague" while they were touring the US. It was certainly different from other theater I've seen. I think that the 'ooh' factor of seeing 'special effects' on stage was supposed to be greater (and perhaps it was for others). But since I found it only mildly impressive, the fairly weak storytelling left me with a overall mild impression.

I think it's worth seeing in-person once, but I can't imagine going back.
posted by Four Flavors at 11:14 AM on February 8, 2007

I'm with abulafia and Four Flavors. I was in Prague two months ago, and saw one of the shows. After about half an hour, I felt like I'd seen all the tricks, and the novelty had worn off. There was supposed to be nudity in the second act, though, so I stayed.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 11:37 AM on February 8, 2007

I'm quite stoked, I'm going to a warehouse party this Sat. that'll feature a performance by a local blacklight dance troupe, ArcheDream. And I don't even have to go to Prague.
posted by scalefree at 11:46 AM on February 8, 2007

Hrm, I spent a summer in Praha. I found it a magical city and tried unsuccessfully to stay there after my official stay was up. There are many reasons to visit Prague, but I would rank the black light theater towards the bottom. The Czechs I hung out with considered blacklight as a tourist trap at best.

More impressive to me are the streets, architecture (Sci-Fi-Soviet mixed with downright midevil), transit, history, little restaurants, cafes, bars, art, and above all else - people. When you go (not if), do your best to also explore outside of the Old Town central touristich area.
posted by ilovemytoaster at 3:23 PM on February 8, 2007

Seconded, ilovemytoaster.

Also, the underground wine bars, the ossuary at Kutna Hora, the film school and smazeny syr*.

* Breaded cheese medallion, deep fried, served on a soft roll with mayonaise. Touristy coronary or not, the best thing ever to make it from a metal restaurant on wheels into my mouth at 4am.
posted by abulafa at 3:39 PM on February 8, 2007

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