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On the lighter side

THE Broadway spectacular "Luma" is all about light, and its star is electromagnetic radiation itself - no actors are visible. It opens next month in this city known for its lights. Xu Wei enlightens us.

Light: Electromagnetic radiation ranging from 4,000 (violet) to 7,700 (red) angstroms and visible to the unaided naked eye.

Light in all its colors, frequencies and forms is the star of "Luma," a magical Broadway show that will run from June 26 to 28 at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center in Pudong.

Darkness is the canvas and light is the brush telling the story of how we humans perceive light. No humans are visible, just the light in its many manifestations, light as we seldom think of it.

In the 100-minute show, light is produced and moved about by varied illumination technologies and devices - lasers, sunlight, X-rays, fireworks, neon, firelight, flashlights, shooting stars, glowing computer screens, lightbulbs, fireflies, radium, and sources we've never thought of.

The invisible cast of the "Luma" light circus performs dance, rhythmic gymnastics, juggling, magic, puppetry, physics, and uses chaos theory and experimental methods to create kinetic, illuminated art.

Michael Marlin, the show's founder, is a life-long show business veteran, a comedian-juggler in Las Vegas and on TV for years. As a teenager in the United States, he ran away to the circus and never looked back. He has performed worldwide.

Later he got away from all the bright lights and glitz. He moved to Hawaii and returned to nature. The idea for the show came to him when he was standing on a lava flow "at the edge of the Earth."

He says he had an epiphany that all life is drawn to light, like moths to a flame and plants to the sun. Humans too inevitably turn to the light.

Everyone, he says, remembers playing with a flashlight under the covers, waving a sparkler, gazing at the lights on birthday cakes, and this fascination never ends.

"Luma" has been staged in more than 175 performing arts centers in the US and 30 countries worldwide.

"The show has been acclaimed by critics and spectators," says Mark Ma, president of Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment, an organizer of the show.

"We bring it to Shanghai partly because of the city's beautiful lighted skyline at night which perfectly coincides with the theme of our performance," Ma says.

Date: June 26-28, 7:15pm

Venue: Shanghai Oriental Art Center, 425 Dingxiang Rd, Pudong

Tickets: 180-800 yuan

Tel: 6375-8558, 6217-2426


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