HISTORY OF BLACK LIGHT THEATRE
The principle of a black light theatre is an optical illusion called black cabinet, which uses the imperfections of a human eye. An eye is not able to distinguish black on black. However, the trick itself is very simple in the theatre practice – an actor dressed in black against a black background scene is not visible for viewers. Objects and props controlled by actors dressed in black then get the ability to move. Inanimate things are bearers of a dramatic action in the extent that they are even equal partners to live actors.
It could be said that the cradle of the black theatre was, at least according to legends, the old China in the Ming Dynasty period during the reign of Wang-Pang. The legend also says: "Very sad was the emperor whose son died and he could barely cope with his death." In those days, however, on the court was a magician called Mang-ti. By using light and dark, contrast of black and white and the help of so-called black cabinet, he was able to put the emperor`s son back in his mind in the performances and ease the emperor`s grief for a while.
The journey of this art from China to Europe was neither short nor simple.
What is certain is that from that time on, this technique and its possibilities have been perfected in many ways and countless artists, illusionists and magicians have used these principles of the black cabinet in their performances. In Bohemia, this technique has been settled and further developed in various magical stories for nearly a century. In the fifties of the 19th century this technique of the black cabinet interested an avant-garde French puppeteer George Lafaye, who is considered to be the father of the black theatre.
Many people claimed that the origins of this art genre in Czechoslovakia were simultaneously also the beginnings of the communist era. That`s because people have benefited from this type of theatre and theatre scene also to communicate important information from government circles. That`s why this specific protest communication was called "black theatre".
In the black light theatre were still sought new and new expressions, nonverbal means, which could be used on a stage. All scenes were based on a metaphor, which was supposed to be performed only through the body, no voice. After a few years another means of expression became also dance that emphasizes not only music, but also black light theatre efficiency. Therefore, even in some performances the so far invisible actors in black began to come into the light. Special lighting had to be used not to reveal what is going on in the back of the stage. Therefore, the actors have to wear a very strong makeup and costumes that visually fit into the show. The same is true also in the Black Light Theatre Metro. You can read everything about the origin and development in its history.