by Robert Bell
VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS MAGIC LANTERN SHOW
7 p.m. Old State House Museum. Free.
In the olden times, before smartphones and liquid crystal displays and cathode ray tubes, before even film itself, people still huddled in dark rooms to stare at glowing images. You know, for entertainment.
One of the earliest methods of creating shimmering distractions was the magic lantern, a sort of proto-projector that bounces light off a mirror and directs it across an aperture and through a lens and a glass slide with a colorful image on it. Later innovations enabled the images to move, thus humanity took another step toward the birth of film.
The Old State House Museum will give audiences a taste of Victorian-era entertainment, with a genuine antique magic lantern, which "rapidly projects spectacular color slides on a full-size movie screen." The images are dramatized by costumed entertainers and by the audience itself, which is encouraged to clap, stomp and join in chants and songs.