Tortoise and the Hare in the 21st century

Published 11:26 am Monday, October 30, 2023

Lightwire Theater visits Danville with a new twist on an old tale

By Lance Gaither

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On Friday, Oct. 20, the Boyle County Performing Arts Center hosted a one-day-only showing of Lightwire Theater’s “The Adventures of the Tortoise and the Hare.” Lightwire Theater is not your usual live performance. The show is performed completely in the dark and performers use custom made “lightwire” costumes along with other lighting effects to create a truly unique and spectacular show.

The performance begins with a short skit reminiscent of the pre-movie skits in Pixar films followed by the first act of the show. Act 1 is a retelling of the classic story of “The Tortoise and the Hare.” The confident and quick hare faces off in a race against the slow and steady tortoise. The hare gains a large lead on the tortoise and decides it has enough of a lead for a nap. When the hare awakens, it sees that the tortoise has reached the finish line.

Act 2 skips ahead in time to find that the tortoise and the hare have not let go of their old rivalry even though they both have families of their own. They decide to have a rematch, but their children, baby hare and baby tortoise, will compete in their place. Neither of their children are eager to race, but agree to anyway.

During the race, both of the babies are distracted by a mysterious cave. Inside they are attacked by a monster that intends to make them dinner. The tortoise and the hare must put aside the differences to defeat the monster and save their kids.

Lightwire Theater puts on an amazing show that not only provides a modern retelling of the classic fable, but expands on it in a way that both children and adults can enjoy.

The show’s cast, Ian Carney, Eleanor Carney, Corbin Popp, Kevin Chick and Jesse Forcha came out after the show to explain some behind-the-scenes tricks that make the show unique.

“I know what you are thinking, can I order these suits from Amazon in time for Halloween?” Chick said. “We actually make our costumes out of things you all use all the time.”

Chick revealed that everyday backpacks, bike helmets and sports equipment are just some of the items they use as a base for their costumes. The lightwire suits used by that cast are battery-powered and controlled by each individual member, not a computer.

“We work really hard to make sure we do the show the same every time and that it a good show,” Chick said. “We need the audience to make the show, without it we are just five adults dancing in the dark. With the audience here we don’t have a live theater experience. Thank you so much for coming out.”    

There are multiple Lightwire Theater troupes that tour nationally, each performing a single show. Boyle County Schools Performing Arts Center Director Jimmy Cornn saw a short demo of the performance at a conference and knew he had to have Lightwire Theater at Boyle County.

“I knew I needed to bring it. My 12-year-old self would have loved it as a child,” Cornn said. “We had a show this morning with all 500 seats were taken with mostly third- and fourth-graders from across the schools. It was very exciting this morning. A lot of the kids came back tonight because they loved it so much.”

It is the most technically advanced show ever performed at the Boyle County Performing Arts Center.

“It has been a big learning experience. We are super happy to have done it and hope to have them back,” Cornn said.

The Boyle County Performing Arts Center has a full line up of shows this season for audiences of all ages.

• Nov. 20: “Frosty: A Musical Adventure”

• Dec. 1-2: “The Nutcracker”

• Jan. 20: “Electric Avenue: The 80’s MTV Experience”

• Jan. 28: “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show”

• March 14: “Take 3”

• March 21: “Beyond Babel National Tour”

• April TBA: “Mean Girls: High School Edition”

For more information on show times and ticket reservations, visit the Boyle County Performing Arts Center website at