The Illinois Central College Guest Artists Series presents Lightwire Theater’s A Bigger & Brighter Very Electric Christmas on Sunday, December 9 at 2:30 pm. The performance takes place in the ICC Performing Arts Center, located on the East Peoria Campus.
Following the show, attendees are invited to stay for complimentary hot chocolate and cookies, along with additional activities.
Lightwire Theater was a semi-finalist on Season 7 of the NBC TV talent show America’s Got Talent in 2012. In addition, Lightwire Theater was the winner of Season 1 of TruTV’s Fake Off.
A Bigger & Brighter Very Electric Christmas follows the story of a young bird named Max and his family as they begin their journey south for the winter. When Max gets blown off course and ends up at the North Pole, his adventure begins.
Lightwire Theater performed A Very Electric Christmas at ICC in 2017, but 2018’s expanded, lengthier, bigger and brighter show features additional video and laser elements, along with added music. The show entertains all ages and is a captivating tale of family, friendship and hope set to timeless holiday classics.
The performance by Lightwire Theater is a combination of theater and technology combined to create larger than life stories, while in complete darkness. Due to the unique mashup of elements, one member of the crew for this production said it is difficult to describe the show to anyone unfamiliar with it.
“I would best describe our shows as a live action cartoon, or a physical realization of a dream” said Tyler Scifres, technical director for Lightwire Theater. “When you see our costumes turn on, when you see our puppets come on stage, it’s something that nobody’s ever seen before. It’s a nice mix of dance, puppetry, theater and a little bit of tech so that people can actually see us.”
Lightwire Theater uses electroluminescent wire, or “el wire,” as the source of lighting for its shows. El wire is “neon-like in quality,” according to Eleanor Carney, a co-owner and director with Lightwire Theater. She said el wire is similar to the lighting in neon signs, but has the consistency of “half-cooked spaghetti,” which allows the creators to shape and mold the wire into different characters.
“We are glow in the dark, but we’re not blacklight,” Carney said. “We’re not traditionally what people think of when they go to see a dark show. All of our puppets are made of electroluminescent wire, and they are brought to life by dancers.”
Arrangements are being made for members of the Lightwire cast to be present at the reception following the show at ICC, so audience members can see up close how the costumes are constructed.
“People will ‘ooh and ahh’ as they come closer to us and see up close what they saw in the audience,” said Scifres, who will be part of the company performing at ICC. “We get a lot of questions about ‘What is it made of?’ and ‘How do you see in the dark?’”
Based in New Orleans, Lightwire Theater uses a mixture of technology, music, and theater to create its captivating, innovative performances. The group has been in business over 10 years and has performed in 49 of the 50 United States. In addition, Lightwire has performed shows to audiences across the world, including Hong Kong, Canada, China, and Abu Dhabi.
The Arts at ICC will host an event in the studio theatre of the ICC Performing Arts Center after the performance. Complimentary hot chocolate and cookies will be available, and there will be an area for selfies and for patrons to take their own photos with Santa. Attendees must have tickets to the Lightwire Theater performance for admission to this event.
Patrons who attend the show will also have the opportunity to provide input about future shows. In addition, attendees who donate to the highlighted Community Partner for the event--the East Peoria Festival of Lights--will be entered into a drawing for a free pair of tickets to a future event. The Community Partner program highlights a non-profit or community organization with a connection to the performance. Introduced as a part of the ICC Guest Artists Series in the 2011-12 season, more than 30 groups and organizations from the area have been featured as part of the program.
The performance is presented by the Arts at ICC, which has a rich history of enhancing the arts community and expanding education beyond the classroom. Arts at ICC presents more than 500 exhibits, performances, lectures, rehearsals, meetings, master classes, clinics, seminars, receptions, orientations, forums, auditions and tournaments annually.
Tickets to the show cost $26 for the general public and $16 for students and children. Tickets can be purchased online at ArtsAtICC.com or by calling the box office at (309) 694-5136.