Fan Yang and his daughter, Melody, arrived in Providence last week to set up the PPAC stage for the opening of their 72-city American tour of the Gazillion Bubble Show. If you have never heard of Fan Yang, you have been living in a bubble.
His unique, incredible show has a permanent home on Broadway, has traveled around the world and has been featured on “Ellen,” “David Letterman,” ”The Today Show” and “Oprah,” where he put 100 people inside one of his bubbles.
Providence was chosen as the first stop for his expanded show, which features “a gazillion bubbles,” lasers, multi-media productions, music, audience participation and much more.
“We entertain people from two to 102,” Fan said, sitting in the Green Room at PPAC, taking a break from supervising over a dozen people who were setting up the intricate equipment. “The show is visual. It is artistic. It is not magic, but it is magical,” he said. “We are using all new equipment and we need to check it all out.”
Fan Yang was born in Vietnam and moved to Yugoslavia, where he grew up in a poor country village.
“There was a pond and a river with a waterfall near my home,” he said. “I would sit for hours and watch the bubbles form. I was fascinated with bubbles.”
Fan turned that fascination into an obsession, then a hobby, and finally one of the most entertaining shows in the world.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are or what language you speak,” he told me. “You will be entertained and educated.”
Never trained in science, Fan Yang spent years developing his craft and passed on his knowledge to his wife and children, all of whom are involved in this show or shows being performed around the world. In addition to New York City, a show is now going on in Japan.
“I had to learn about density, molecules and all of those things,” he said. “I spent hours in libraries, experimented while my children played around, and they were always learning. We are still learning. Water is different around the world. We purify all the water in the show, adding a special concentrate to the local water. It is all safe and non-toxic.”
Melody is part of the PPAC show.
“I have my own segment as The Goddess of Light,” she said. “It is difficult to explain just what we do. We use lasers, bubbles, lighting. It is a unique art.”
The combination of science and entertainment has thrilled audiences around the world and has placed Fan Yang in the Guinness Book of World Records 17 times, from creating the world’s largest spherical bubble to encasing an elephant in a bubble.
The fantastic show is at the Providence Performing Arts Center Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 for four performances. Tickets are $10-$23; call 421-ARTS for reservations.