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Monday, January 22, 2024

Laterna Magika

This futuristic building just next to the National Theatre is easy to spot because of its all-glass façades. It looks quite out of place beside the neo-renaissance-styled National Theatre. However, it is appropriate for the cutting-edge multimedia shows which combine dramatic lighting effects, cinema, moveable screens, props and live actors to create an extraordinary stage show (which they have been developing for more than 45 years). Mime and gesture are the only languages in these shows, so there is no need to worry about not speaking Czech. Book well ahead as this Magic Lantern Theatre is usually booked out very quickly.

Location: Nová Scéna, Národní třída 4, New Town

Box-office: Tickets from 690 CZK.

Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am-6pm.

Laterna Magika



  1. This si something I wrote to my younger colleagues, sadly wey are half a world away from Prague:
    Possibly my dear millennials don’t know what a slide or a slide projector is. Maybe they haven’t even seen a movie projector. In itself it is the same principle, a light behind the slide or moving film projects the enlarged image through a lens onto something that acts as a screen. I am from that time, from the dark rooms with projections towards the wall. They could be slides with images of stories with a text written and told by a speaker (teacher or gardener) or short films of a few minutes, often silent. It was almost always a magical, social, very intimate atmosphere when there were just a few of them in a small room. It was also used in class for teaching purposes (there were not even video cassettes). But what I’m going to is before, very before cinema, photography, electric light. More than one hundred and thirty-six years since the world saw the light (1966 😄). The projector with a lens already existed, its light source was the oil lantern or the candle. A lens was added to the camera obscura some time ago and was capable of projecting. That projector, no different from a slide projector, was called the magic lantern. Fun shows were put on with him. There were projections of painted glass images as well as primitive mirror-reflected and projected animations. What would be the pinnacle of these shows were the phantasmagoria. Something like a ghost train without a train (but better) mixed with spiritualism, necromancy, diabolism and illusionism. Projections of images on smoke, projection of hidden real actors, illusionism, spiritualism, sudden apparitions that disappear or fade away, ghosts that even talk to present relatives, spirits, the devil himself, sound effects and disconcerting music… Obviously fake viewers and data collection from some viewer (the sister of a lady who decided to commit suicide in the lake fifteen years before??). Many times in special environments such as the ruins of a convent and its labyrinths and with several magic lanterns, several actors, tricks and many surprises. A special atmosphere and perhaps a few fainted ladies. Sadly such a spectacle is not profitable for a modern illusionist due to the limited number of spectators. But I am sure that a great modern illusionist with all his staff and current knowledge could achieve the same effect on a modern spectator using the same technology from 200 years ago. https://es.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantasmagor%C3%ADa


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