San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Black Light Theatre of Prague to Give Single Performance at Melico Salazar

Dreams will take place before your eyes on the stage of San José’s Melico Salazar Theater, when Jiri Srnec’s Black Light Theatre of Prague, an internationally acclaimed theater ensemble, performs Sept. 20 for one night only. The Czech company presents a theatrical spectacle full of magic and illusion that has delighted and astounded audiences of all ages throughout the world.

The show, entitled “The Best of Black Light Theatre” was produced in celebration of the company’s 45th anniversary. Founded in 1961 by Srnec, the artistic director, Black Light Theatre of Prague has more than 300 tours to its credit, and has participated in countless theater festivals and garnered many awards and rave reviews in the 68 countries where it has performed.

Srnec began experimenting with the typical Czech art form of “black box technique” in the late 1950s. Today, he and other black light theater companies in Prague have created a perfect symbiosis between technical and theatrical elements that has become famous worldwide.

The black box trick is an art form that was first used in ancient China to entertain emperors. It was then adopted by Japanese puppet theaters during the 18th century, and in the 1950s avant-garde puppeteers started using its magical effects.

The principal of black light theater is an optical illusion that takes advantage of the limitations of the human eye, which cannot distinguish between black on black. The black box trick is very simple: audiences cannot see an actor dressed in black against a black background. Inanimate objects and props operated by actors move independently before the audience’s eyes and become participants in the drama.

A combo of wide-screen projections, ultraviolet lights that make everything glow and other techniques results in a world of illusory creations peopled with actors, mimes, dancers and puppets.

Srnec emphasizes that black box tricks are not the main purpose of his company’s plays, but rather a way to produce memories, emotions and storytelling in a metaphoric, surrealistic or fairytale world, with actors, music, scenery and the movement of graphic artifacts. Past productions, among many others, include “Alice in Wonderland” and “Peter Pan,” both ideally suited for this type of art form.

The upcoming performance promises to be suitable for the whole family, transporting audiences into a magical world of makebelieve with actors flying through the air in fantastic costumes, glowing scenery and objects suspended in space, plus a combination of music and sound effects.

Only one performance will be offered, Sept. 20, at 8 p.m. Tickets cost ¢7,000-30,000 ($14-60) and are on sale now at Servimás outlets in Hipermás and Maxibodega stores, Häagen-Dazs outlets, Bansbach stores, online at or by phone at 207-2025.


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