The black light theatre was born like many other creative ideas in... China, where it began as a "shadow" theatre using candlelight reflecting on white fabrics, for the entertainment of Chinas emperors. Black theatre was later on exported to Japan (during the 18th century), were it was used in the Japanese "Bunrak" Puppet Theatre. Many artists at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, such as George Melies, used this technique in the first days of the cinema to better portray the visual imagination. The modern black light theater was born in the 1950's in French avant-garde artist George Lafaye's theatre, where black-suited actors operated props, and honored Mr. Lafaye with the title, "the father of the modern black light theatre." It was during that period that the Ultra-violet lamp was invented and during the 60s and 70s it became a world fashion trend when the hippies used UV colors to express the new meanings of freedom in psychedelic ways. The early 60s of then-communist Czechoslovakia brought Czech artists, mainly working in Prague to develop a new exiting theater language providing new technical abilities and magical colors using the UV lights. Due to the need for complete darkness, the artists used large amount of black fabrics, and UV lights, then naming the new art form: "The black light theater." The famous Czech artist Jiri Srnec, gained international success with his black light theater, participating in international festivals and bringing this new theater magic to the west. Another Czech black light theater that caught the world's attention was the "Laterna Magica," which in more recent years uses the multi-media video screening as its main technique. After the velvet revolution in 1989 many Czech artists began to develop black light projects and brought Prague to its present position of the world's capital city of the black light theatre. There are 6 black light theatres operating in Prague today and WOW is the biggest, most modern and youngest of them all.
WOW is the world's first three-dimensional theatre, where dancers and props are flying from the stage over the audience, causing a 3D experience that is reminiscent of 3D movies, but without the need for special glasses! WOW uses techniques from the world of Hollywood. Cranes, special engines and cables on the ceiling allow actors, dancers and props to fly above the audience's heads for the first time in the world! By doing this, WOW breaks the "forth wall," an expression used in the theater describing the audience's zone as a forth wall, never to be broken. Beautiful scenes such as a mermaid flying above with 200 UV fishes tailing her, colorful butterflies filling the theatre or a 6-meter giant spider crossing the theatre are just some of the pictures that make this show so special. The show contains interactive scenes as well, such as the scene where six big fluorescent balls fall from the stage onto the audience, who can push them from side to side.
In 1997, Lior Kalfo, a young Israeli actor-comedian, created a short black light scene in Israel without knowing about the existence this theatre form. None other than his dentist drew his attention towards Prague, and told him about this long time Czech theatre tradition. Lior came to Prague to learn more about this unique art and immediately was captured by the beauty of the city and the magic of the black light theatre. In 1998 he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career, but his imagination created pictures in colors and shapes in his mind every night. He rewrote and sharpened his creation that was named "Wow," named after the feeling Lior wanted to give to people. After almost two years the show was ready to go on stage. September 2000 brought Lior back for the second time to Prague, where he learned the local entertainment market. He interviewed dozens of the leading industry professionals and began to build a creative team, while searching for investors. In February 2001, Lior was awarded his American Green Card for extraordinary abilities in the field of art. Nevertheless, he packed his belongings and moved to the snowy cold winter of Prague, determined to build his own black light theater. The language and culture differences in the foreign city didn't stop him. A young Yugoslav producer joined the project and helped him to understand the local mentality. After 8 hard months of searching for a suitable theater, a contract was signed for the famous 300-seat Grossmann Theater on Prague's main avenue Wenceslas Square. Auditions were held in the beginning of September, and two teams of 15 dancers and actors, were chosen to start rehearsal simultaneously. After five months of rehearsals, on January 20, 2002, WOW finally opened. A standing ovation from the excited Prague audience announced that the show was clearly a big success and a dream come true. From June 15th, 2007 our show moves to the Blaník theater (just across the square). Today, the WOW family has more then 30 employees all from the Czech Republic. Daily shows with increasing fans from all over the world is the living proof that nothing is impossible...if you really want it!