Keith Michael Johnson: Forever Blowing Bubbles – July 24 Matunuck, RI
(Originally appeared in Edge Magazine)
Keith Michael Johnson (as seen on the Discovery Channel’s Time Warp) became the first Soap Bubble Artist in America to create a Bubble-Show with the help of public funding through Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, an appropriation from the Rhode Island General Assembly and private donors.
The 44 year-old Connecticut native has performed at schools, museums, festivals, and family and corporate events all over New England.
“The Secret World of Bubbles is my chance to share with a room full of new friends the amazing things I’ve discovered bubbles can do,” Johnson told EDGE. “And I spend a lot of time encouraging everyone to try the tricks at home. To remember them. To notice for themselves what tricks their own bubbles are doing in the dish water.”
The show features “frighteningly massive bubbles, bigger than bathtubs, floating & wobbling around loose on stage,” Johnson noted. “Also tiny, intricate, fog decorated, helium filled bubble sculptures that spin in circles as they float straight up to pop on the ceiling. Snow-person bubbles. My famous dinosaur in a bubble called The Jurassic Bubble. One of the audience members might even find themselves encased in a bubble, cut off from the outside world, wrapped-up like a sausage in a casing of rainbow colors… if only for a second.”
After graduating from Roger Williams University in 1986, Johnson wrote and performed humor-based educational programs for elementary schools. He began doing bubble art in 2002. The practice evolved from Johnson’s fascination with science.
“My career as a bubble artist was born of necessity,” Johnson explained. “No commercial solutions would make a bubble live for more than 30 seconds. It became my quest to find or invent a stout soap bubble formula.”
Johnson has visited research libraries and spent 18-hour sessions of experimenting and inventing in his studio to perfect the bubble formula.
“I expected that there was a lot of bubble-science to be learned. Chemistry, physics & all that. I didn’t anticipate I would be introduced to bubbling as a hobby, craft & performance art,” Johnson said.
Audiences are continually amazed and fascinated by Johnson’s work with bubbles. Their reactions also enhance his feelings about bubbles.
“Through them I re-experience the thrill of seeing for the first time the surprising behaviors of soap films – behaviors presented to us every day with every washing of our hands or dishes. For me bubbles exemplify the kind of natural magic in our lives which is plain to see if we take the time to observe rather than glance. That’s fascinating to think about,” Johnson added.
The Secret World of Bubbles will be presented on Friday, July 24, 2009 at 10:00 am and 12:00 noon. The theatre is located at 364 Cards Pond Road, Matunuck, RI. Single tickets are $10.00 each with a three show package for $24.00. Discount rates are available for groups of 20 or more by calling (401) 782-3800 x18. Tickets are on sale at the box office Mon-Sat from 10:00 am-4:00 pm, online 24-hours-a-day at www.theatrebythesea.com and via telephone during normal box office hours by calling (401) 782-TKTS (8587).