'BubbleMania' brings soapy, smart fun to science center
Go ahead and burst Casey Carle's bubble. He doesn't mind the joke, and his bubbles need to pop anyway.
“I actually like that bubbles burst. ... If they didn't break, I'm not sure where I'd put them all,” says Carle, an entertainer who specializes in live soap-bubble demonstrations. “I create this massive 6-foot soap bubble, and it pops to splatter.”
Carle, who lives in rural Connecticut, will be entertaining visitors at the Carnegie Science Center on Aug. 15 and 16 with his “BubbleMania” show, in which he'll create everything from foamy bubbles to millions of tiny bubbles to giant ones on the Science Stage at the North Side center. Carle aims to entertain as well as educate people about the science behind bubble creation.
“My brain is split down the middle between love of science and love of the artistic and creative,” he says. “I've never felt like they need to be separated, so I combine them in my shows.”
The bubbles Carle creates can be “jaw-dropping,” and people in the audience wonder whether they can make such bubbles, too. Carle explains how it works. “BubbleMania” may seem like a magic show, but it isn't, he says.
“What I do appears quote-unquote magical,” but it's science, he says. “I break down that difference between illusion and science. I don't do anything that's an illusion. It's all real.
“When I come to science centers, I break down my art form so people see the science behind it, so they can do it, too,” Carle says.
What is the allure of the soap bubble, which author Mark Twain praised as a fascinating thing?
Part of it is the bubble's elusive quality, he says. You can see it, but you can't touch it without popping it. And it comes and goes so quickly.
“It's that ephemeral quality that I think makes my show particularly appealing,” Carle says.
Bubbles are a bit like fireworks, he says.
“Not that it's loud, but you have to be in the moment ... soap bubbles are not going to last long,” Carle says.
Carle — who has done some 4,500 shows in 23 years, including two standing-room-only shows at the Carnegie Science Center in 2010 — has his own secret formula for bubbles that includes dish soap and other ingredients. Environmental conditions like humidity affect bubble formation. The bubbles almost never act outside of Carle's expectations, but they still have a lifelike quality about them, he says.
“The bubbles have to perform on cue. They are my partner on my stage,” Carle says. “I compare working with soap bubbles onstage not unlike working with animals onstage. You have to keep them happy.”
Don't assume “BubbleMania” is just for kids, he says.
“This show will amaze and amuse, and will inspire every age,” Carle says.
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7824.