Perhaps the first thing you need to know about Lightwire Theater is the reason behind the company’s name. The brainchild of entrepreneurs/technocrats/dancers Ian Carney and Corbin Popp, Lightwire utilizes a product called electro-luminescent or “EL” wire to create unique puppets with visually dazzling personalities; these glow-in-the dark puppets are strapped to the bodies of live performers whose movements bring the creatures to life. The wire lights up, the actors move, a story gets told, and theatre happens—thus the name Lightwire Theater.
Darke County Center for the Arts will present Lightwire Theater’s Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall in Greenville on April 3, the final production of the season for DCCA’s Family Theatre Series. Some theatre-goers may happily recall that DCCA brought Lightwire’s The Ugly Duckling to the local stage a couple of years ago, wowing adults as well as youngsters with amazing technology driving the delightful story-telling. A few new special effects and some technological advances have been added to the mix, but you can count on the same eye-popping experience remembered by the previous audience members at this exciting show.
The idea of flying to the moon has always captivated humankind, making Marvin the Mouse’s space trip an appealing subject for almost everyone. Billed as “a cosmic adventure about celebrating differences,” Moon Mouse engages minds and spirits with its relatable story as well as its technical brilliance. Marvin meets over forty luminous characters, views awesome beauty and encounters infinite peril during his odyssey, in which the picked-on geeky character seeks acceptance as well as adventure.
Each sculptured puppet takes nearly 200 hours of intensive labor to complete. Recyclable materials including election signs, plumbing supplies, fishing poles, and duct tape are incorporated into a base that includes triggers and armatures, creating durable pliable sculptures able to withstand the movement of dancers over multiple performances. Electro-luminescent wire is then added to the black fabric that provides dimension; unlike black light, “EL” wire can be powered by batteries, requiring no theatrical lighting and giving 360 degrees of glowing light. A character can use sixteen AA batteries per performance, creating whatever fantastic glowing creatures the imaginative team has dreamed up.
Told solely through movement and puppetry, the story is enhanced by the diverse musical score that includes a wide variety of styles. Familiar pop and classical music plus original compositions accompany the production; Elton John’s “Rocket Man” and David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” are two of the instantly recognizable songs utilized to inspire imaginations as the tale unfolds.
Moon Mouse provides so much to enjoy on so many levels—art, music, technology, creativity, inspiration. To get your tickets to this spectacular production, contact DCCA at [email protected] or 937-547-0908 or purchase online at www.centerforarts.net. Tickets are also available at Greenville Public Library and Readmore’s Hallmark in Greenville, as well as Worch Memorial Public Library in Versailles. If any remain by showtime, tickets will also be sold at the door prior to the performance which begins at 2 p.m.