Families and students flocked to the Granada Theater on Saturday for a light show performance of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling” and Aesop’s fable “The Tortoise and the Hare.” The show was presented by the Emporia Arts Council and was produced by the Corbian Visual Arts and Dance & Lightwire Theater.
“I’ve never seen a light show like that before. I thought it was really different and creative,” said attendee Alan Ryan. “You could tell they put a lot of effort into it.”
The Corbian Visual Arts and Dance & Lightwire Theater has a 10-member cast, two of which are the show’s creators Ian Carney and Corbin Popp. The group uses costumes, stage sets and puppets fitted with battery operated electroluminescent wires called “EL wires,” which eliminate the need for stage lighting or even power outlets.
Carney and Popp said the theater group started after the two met while dancing in the Broadway show “Movin’ Out,” and began utilizing the new technology to create their show, along with a new form of puppetry.
The Corbian Visual Arts and Dance & Lightwire Theater began performing their own renditions of the “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Tortoise and the Hare” shows last month, but these classics are not the group’s first set of shows.
Over the last couple years, the group has performed in cities all over the Americas and Europe with a different show called “Darwin the Dinosaur: A Glow in the Dark Adventure for All Ages.” The light show tells the story of Professor Henslow, a famous scientist with magical powers, and his creation Darwin the Dinosaur.
The character of Professor Henslow creates a heart for Darwin in order to transform him from a predatory beast into a loving creature. Darwin and the professor are walking around outdoors when Darwin gets distracted by a group of fireflies and ends up meeting other creatures in the wild.
When Darwin meets a vicious red dinosaur named Brutus who threatens to harm the professor, Darwin has to make a life changing decision that helps him discover the meaning of true love.
The group has put the production of “Darwin the Dinosaur” on hiatus while they focus on their other performances, which will be touring the United States and Canada until the end of May.
Carney and Popp said the group will resume worldwide performances in September, starting with a show in New Orleans on Sept. 2.