19th & 21st Century Technologies:                
                A Digital Magic Lantern Show

  Thanks to the creative talents of a troupe of performers in Connecticut working with a media designer at Virginia and to the capacities of electronic technology, we can give you an idea of what 19th century audiences saw when they went to Uncle Tom's Cabin as a magic lantern show.
  The show's script, by Terry Borton, adapts traditional practices to modern expectations and sensibilities. Elsewhere in the archive you can see the 1881 SCRIPT that was supplied with the slides. It uses very little dialogue, and is less overtly anti-slavery. Such printed scripts were intended for use by amateurs; professional lantern showmen developed more elaborate presentations like the one here, including songs and musical accompaniment.
  All the visual effects you'll see -- the "flicker" as Eliza crosses the ice, the dissolves between slides, the use of double images and so on -- are ones commonly used a hundred years ago. The slides are all authentic: twelve are from the UTC set offered by Briggs; the remainder are from other contemporaneous sets. In our show the images are changed more frequently than would have been the case, but using additional slides to supplement a set was a common lantern show practice.
  The show is 20 minutes long, and requires a recent Flash plugin. As long as you have a good connection to the web, it should load quickly (in less than a minute, for example, with a cable connection), and once loaded you can use the SCENES control button to jump to any part of the story.

Peformed by
    The American Magic-Lantern Theater
Showman: Terry Borton
Soprano/Pianist: Jacqueline Alvarez
Baritone: Liston Filyaw
  The American Magic-Lantern Theater performs
ten different shows in theaters, festivals and
historical centers around the world. For more
information CLICK HERE.
Flash Program by
    Chris Jessee

Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities
Details about
Flash Program

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