Lightwire Theatre presents an electrifying Christmas story

The artist series collaborates with Lightwire to bring focus to a Christmas classic

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Photo by Sadie Sedlmayr

The Lightwire Theatre performs their electric rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.”

High-stepping toy soldiers, dancing flower plants and glow-in-the-dark electroluminescent wire literally lit up the stage Friday night in Ojibwe Ballroom.

The Lightwire Theatre troupe combined their puppetry, dance, eclectic soundtrack and neon lights to a jam-packed audience of all ages as they performed the original seasonal story of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.”

Event coordinator Kristen Schumacher said she hopes the audience took away something from this show they have never experienced before.

“We want to expose students to something they wouldn’t typically see,” Schumacher said. “Because this is such a unique art form, we want people to take away that they’ve never really seen anything like this before.”

For performer Liz Wiltcher, such was the case. In fact, her lack of knowledge about this art form was what intrigued her the most. She said she was so floored by the first performance she watched that she felt compelled to put herself out there and see how it was done herself.

Marin Rose echoed the same sentiment as her fellow dance partner.

“I love just bringing art into people’s lives and if I can show them something new that they haven’t seen before or maybe don’t quite know exactly how it’s done right away… I love that,” Rose said.

She said they’re performers at heart, so the individuality of what they do in this company is what she loves the most about being a part of such an eclectic team of dancers.

Rose said even though few people utilize this form of art, many people still enjoy watching it, which means anyone can create anything they dream up.

Schumacher said the production that goes into a performance, like this, is sophisticated. If the student’s experience can open their mind to new and different things, then the artist series has done its job.

The event production crew on campus is made up of students and staff who are trained in lights, stage setup, curtains, audio and sound production. She said it’s about 36 hours of prep work and tear down for the 90 minute event.

Although this particular show has been touring since 2013, coming up with a story theme wasn’t easy.

“Our directors Ian and Eleanor Carney had already written two shows before this one and they got together with their agents one day and their agents told them, ‘You know what we think would sell well is a Christmas show,” Wiltcher said.

Wiltcher said building a brand new show takes about three months, give or take. She said they have to come up with the story, design and build the costumes, cast and choreograph the show.

Rose said the magic of the event is what she hopes was special for the audience, especially for younger children. The holiday-themed event brought light and joy to event-goers of all ages.