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Dance and puppetry may be ancient forms of entertainment, but when combined with glowing, neon electro-luminescent wires and fresh forms of storytelling they take on new life. That’s exactly what Lightwire Theater has done with what is known as “EL wire.” And it has earned the company widespread recognition, including a stint on “America’s Got Talent.”. At Oshman Family JCC, Lightwire will present “Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey.” It’s the story of a Marvin, small, geeky, bullied mouse. Watching a documentary made by mice, he learns that the moon is made of cheese. He decides that if he can harness the power of the moon, he will achieve the popularity that has always eluded him.
Marvin ingeniously builds a rocket, flies to the moon and meets a variety of bizarre creatures, including a one-eyed moon girl who befriends him, Returning home triumphantly, he is now popular with the cliques that had rejected him, But he finds that victory hollow, “I’m always a fan of the underdog,” said Lightwire co-founder Ian Carney, who describes the production as a bit of an homage to John Hughes’ teen comedies such as shankless demi pointe shoes “Breakfast Club” and “Sixteen Candles.”, “It’s about what you can achieve, if you put your mind to it, Whether you’re 60 or 5, you realize, ‘If Marvin can do it, I can do it.’”..
Lightwire’s productions appeal to all ages, Carney said, “We don’t really make children’s theater. We make theater for people. It’s always trying to run along the lines of ‘Aladdin,’ in that if you’re a 45-year-old watching, you’re screaming, laughing at Robin Williams, for none of the reasons that the 5-year-old is screaming and laughing. But you’re both screaming and laughing. And that bring us to a place of actual family entertainment, which the whole family actually loves. One person is not sitting there being baffled by it … or bored by it. Everybody is really having a great time — and they’re doing it together. We need more of that.”.
Carney was attracted to the opportunity to venture into outer space, “That whole wonder of bigness about it was an interesting world that we wanted to go into.”, For kids, it’s a chance to experience inventive effects in a theater, “The fact that we’re right in front of you and it is live and you’re actually looking at it, that’s kind of a cool thing, We want them to want to come back to the theater, instead shankless demi pointe shoes of sitting with their phones and watching their iMacs.”, Visual effects are not enough, however, “The audience must be invested in the story,” Carney said..
The stories are told with very little dialogue, just visuals, movement and music, drawn from original scores, classical, film and pop songs. “We try to use the full spectrum of music, to represent the characters in different ways,” Carney says. So the shows have translated very effectively internationally. Lightwire has performed everywhere from Paris to Russia to China. Carney grew up in New Orleans. His father was a professor of art at Tulane University. So the boy had opportunities to dabble in everything from printmaking to sculpture. But his mother was a dancer, and Carney’s dream was to become a classical ballet performer.
He met his wife Eleanor in dance class, when he was 13, When they came back from college, the two danced primarily together, throughout the South, “Romeo and Juliet” were perfect roles for them, They moved to New York, Carney was shankless demi pointe shoes featured on Broadway in Twyla Tharp’s “Movin’ Out,” which utilized the music of Billy Joel, He appeared on the opening segment of the Tony Awards in a number from that show, Carney also did a lot of choreography, With the Tharp company, Carney met Corbin Popp, who introduced him to EL wire, which he had seen at Burning Man festival, They began experimenting with the wire, Recycling a wild array of household materials that they enlivened with EL wire, they fashioned durable, flexible costumes and puppets, They created dancing ducks, dinosaurs and gigantic birds, They realized that the challenging medium had tremendous potential..
In his mid-30s, Carney was ready for a new direction. “I didn’t know if I had a lot more to say in straight-forward ballet.”. So EL wire became his focus. His wife Eleanor and Popp’s wife Whitney soon joined in the creative fun. The foursome’s first full-length show was unveiled in 2007. The Carneys moved back to New Orleans, soon after Katrina. The Popps joined them. The name Lightwire Theater was chosen when “America’s Got Talent” invited them to be part of that network competition. Lightwire made it to the semi-finals. They subsequently competed on truTV’s “Fake Off” and won the top prize of $100,000, which they used to expand the company.
The shankless demi pointe shoes traveling Lightwire troupes don’t often include the original four dancers anymore, Popp is a parent and a practicing dentistry, but he flies to Louisiana several times a year to help with the technology, Carney, 49, still carefully oversees the whole process and occasionally goes on stage, He won’t be coming to California this time, Carney continues to dream up exciting productions that allow audiences to use their imaginations, ”That’s the beauty of dance — you’re participating in the story all the time, And you’re putting your own movie on it, because we’re not filling in every single blank..