America's Only Authentic 1890's Magic-Lantern Shows


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Technical Requirements
 We Provide

Whether we come by plane or van we arrive 2 hours + before show time, and always bring:

  1. Costumed performers: usually 1 showman and 1 singer/pianist.

  2. Large magic lantern and 120-160 glass magic-lantern slides. (Combined weight, 100 pounds)

  3. Showman's lectern. pianist light, musical instruments for audience, antique toys, etc.

  4. Lav sound system -- two lavs (radio mikes), radio receiver, connectors of various types to patch into your mixer or sound system. CD for walk-in music.

If we come by van (not plane), we can also bring:

  1. Screen(8' X 8') (If you have a bigger screen, we'll leave ours and use yours. The bigger the better.)

  2. Sound system for audiences up to 500 -- mikes, mixer, speakers, tape deck, etc. (If you have a good system, we'll leave this heavy stuff at home, and patch our lavs --see above-- into your system.)

  3. Small electronic keyboard (piano). (If you have a real piano, we'd prefer to use it.)

 We Need From You...
  1. Performing space that is dark and electrified. This is a projected show. Pitch black is not necessary, but a reasonably "movie dark" room is. Direct sun or a street light on the screen is a serious problem.

  2. A Screen. If we come by van, we can bring our 8' X 8' or use yours. If by plane, we use yours.

  3. A STURDY table for the lantern and slides, about 5'- 8' long X 3' wide X 26" to 36" high. (A modern folding banquet table is fine, but a modern projectionist's table is not big/strong enough for our antique equipment.) Please set up the table in the center-front of the hall before we arrive, with a standard 110 volt electrical connection to it. (If we come by plane, we do not bring extension cords.)  The long dimension of the table should be parallel to the screen. The distance from screen to table depends on the smallest dimension of the screen's size: For an 8' screen, 15' to table; for 10'/18'; 12'/22'; 15'/27'; 20'/33'; 25'/40'. Usually, the table is in the first few rows. If you have a level auditorium floor without fixed seats, put a center aisle behind table. If you have fixed seats or a sloping floor, see diagram below. In any case, check below for a diagram of setup.

    Please set up the table and the electrical current to it before we arrive.

  4. Two small end tables or card tables, one on stage, one by the piano.

  5. Connection for our radio lav mikes and (only if we come by plane) a CD deck or player for introductory music we bring. If you have no sound system, or only a podium speaker, let us know. By van we'll bring our own. By plane, ... we'll noodle. In a large hall with speakers in front of the piano, a monitor set up for the pianist would be appreciated, if available.

  6. A tuned piano. In advance, please place piano, with regular 110 volt electricity to it, on stage right of screen (if possible), so pianist can see screen, and audience can see her. If you do not have a piano, we can bring a small electric keyboard. (Van only) We bring out own piano light.  For some shows, if we fly, we need a snare drum, sticks, and stand.  (See contract to see if needed.)

  7. A house manager/technician/stage hand (one person minimum) to help load in/out, manage the door, introduce the show, handle house and stage lights, & sound. (Lighting and sound during show are very simple. Sound requires no adjustment during the show; lights little.) We like to arrive two+ hours before the show, and striking takes about an hour.

  8. An assistant lanternist to help during the show. (Not the same person as above.) Anyone age 7+ is satisfactory. We can train this person in about five minutes. Prefer black, black and white, or Victorian costume. A child is best for this job.

  9. Please arrange, if possible, for a well-lit, non-public dressing room with a mirror and electrical outlet. If we are setting up/performing over meal times, bottled water and lights snacks are appreciated.  One of us is a vegetarian.

  10. (Optional) Any plants, flowers, Victorian furniture, decorations, etc. that you can provide for the stage or lobby will help create ambiance. (If we come by van, we bring some things of our own, but the more the better.)

Positioning the Lantern Tech Diagram for Magic-Lantern Touring Theatre

Ordinarily the lantern is placed in the middle of the audience, 15-30 feet from the screen. (See above for instructions on exact positioning.) Our type of magic lantern (called a "short focus lantern") was designed for this placement so that people could see it being operated, which is part of the fun of the show. The lantern is an antique and cannot be modified for a longer throw. If the lantern is in the midst of fixed seats, please leave the stage-left row behind the lantern free so that the operators can get back and forth to it during the show.

Also, since the lantern and its operators take up a space about six feet high and wide, they may reduce the view of some of the seats behind them. You will need to arrange seating (or rope off seating) so that the view of the screen is not obscured. This presents minimal problems in wide rooms, in rooms with flexible seating or with seating risers, or in rooms with a screen placed high. In a long narrow room with a level floor, fixed seats and a low screen, lantern placement can present a difficulty, depending on the size of the room and the audience expected. We'll be glad to discuss special options with you.

If your floor slopes or has seating risers where the lantern will be, we will need to make special arrangements. Usually all that is needed is to set a table up on blocks over the seats so that it makes a level space for the lantern. Please call to work out details with us.

Schematic of Table Blocked Over Seats

Tech Diag.2

And That's it! We'll call to review details. Thanks.

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