Love is a tricky thing. Sometimes, it’s the most marvelous feeling in the world, bringing two people together in harmony and devotion; other times, the passion burns so bright that love can’t withstand the fiery spark. Good or bad, love is a powerful emotion that can evoke an array of emotions. This past week during the Hollywood Fringe Festival preview week I had the chance to experience two shows that center around love and loss, titled FIRE and LIGHT. These shows, which are part of The Firelight Collective and are created and directed by Stephanie Feury and Nathan Keyes, were beautifully tragic and left me with tears in my eyes.

When I arrived at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theater for the show, I was first captivated by the feeling of comfort the space gave me. As I sat to await the show, I noticed a woman who seemed on edge pacing around asking for someone. It took me a moment to realize that the person she was asking for was me. When I relayed this information to her, she grabbed my hand and hurriedly took me into the bathroom. At this point, I knew that the show had begun.

While in the bathroom with this mysterious woman, she spoke of a man she just met. A Persian man who was gorgeous and wonderful and wanted more than just sex with her – he wanted a relationship (though she wasn’t sure she was ready for that). I was still trying to wrap my head around what had just happened and was trying my best to show my excitement over her new suitor. However, as her story went on, she became sad as her Persian love had seemed to have disappeared since their first date and she wasn’t sure what to do. I tried to give her my best advice as she got undressed and proceeded to use the toilet. Though solemn, she was finally able to put herself together and next thing I knew she thanked me and opened the door where the rest of my group was waiting.

At this point we were led into a decent size room equipped with a bar and some Christmas decorations with four actors standing about. The light were low but there didn’t seem to be happiness emanating from there. Once the lights went on, the actors became animated, greeting all of us there as if we were long lost friends. However, as time went on, a sensuality seemed to grow between each couple. Innocent gazes turned to flirting which in turn turned to touching and suggestive wordage resulting in the loss of clothes. The fire had burned to it’s full potential and the aftermath was not one of contentment or happiness.

On the faces of these couples was something close to shame and regret. The love was lost and empty words filled the room. In a short amount of time, we viewed the highs and lows of lust along with the consequences it had. The fire had been extinguished and it was a heavy sight to behold. I felt sadness in my heart and a part of me felt ashamed to have witnessed everything that unfolded. As the actors became silent and the lights dimmed, we were led out of the room by what I can only assume were faeries (who were also responsible for narrating parts of the show). The FIRE portion had ended and it was now time to experience LIGHT.

Upon leaving the Stephanie Feury Studio Theater, there was a party bus awaiting us to take us to our next location. Inside the bus were two actors who had their own tragic stories of infatuation, yearning, and loss. I enjoyed this brief pause between the two shows as it allowed me to take some time to comprehend what I had just witnessed.

Before I knew it we arrived at our next location, Asylum’s Underground Theater. We were led into the building by an unknown gentleman and taken down an aisle into a beautifully designed tent. Once inside the tent there were chairs around the perimeter and two “faeries” seated in the middle who spun a tale of heartache. In the corner, sat a man, with a sheer fabric over his head. When the faeries were done speaking, they removed the fabric from the man and he slowly came to life. He greeted us, turned on the soft lights in the tent, and put music on. What followed was one of the most beautiful and touching performances I’ve ever seen.

It’s hard to put into words the experience of LIGHT. It’s abstract, and at times even silent, but the feelings and emotions that are all around are palpable and real. There are moments of loss opportunities, fleeting love, words left unsaid, and the desire to be held and loved. It’s powerful and emotional and I couldn’t help but feel the tears beginning to form in my eyes. I’m purposefully keeping this experience vague because I truly believe it’s better to go in not knowing what to expect. With that said, just make sure you allow yourself to be open and vulnerable so as to experience the performance to it’s full potential.

Overall, both FIRE and LIGHT moved me in ways that few shows have. I’ve dealt with my own struggles in relationships – whether they be passionate flings or the feeling that I could never be loved, and I felt those feelings begin to come to the surface once again. However, while watching both shows, I was constantly reminded that I have since found love – one that isn’t fleeting and one that I hold dear to my heart. Though this isn’t a horror performance, I would still urge all of you to attend and give it a chance. Love and loss can be just as dangerous as monsters and ghosts, it just all depends on how you view it.

For more information on The Firelight Collective and to purchase tickets to their shows at The Hollywood Fringe Festival visit

Shannon McGrew
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