Welcome witches and warlocks,
Today I will be reviewing the Firelight Collective’s latest immersive theater experience STARS IN THE NIGHT. To best describe the experience, I will use their taglines:
“There are cosmic events that happen once in a lifetime. What happens when worlds collide? Will you be there?
Loss, loss forms a central theme.
Then again, so does hope.
And, also, beauty.
But there is love, here, too.”
It is hard to accurately describe the various parts at play, but the emotional through lines reside in every scene. As we journeyed through the night, we heard tales of sorrow, of dreams, of giving up, of persevering and it was hard not to feel involved. In some stories, we were involved, in others we watched from a distance until we were asked to join in, and then there was one particular scene in which we were not referred to at all. No matter what our role, it was easy to feel engaged just by our connection to the thematic undertones.
Even the story itself had a certain structure that left a lot up to interpretation. It is possible that certain characters were connected or that everything existed over multiple time periods, but maybe that was just something for the audience to decide. Even now, a day later, I am wondering if the characters whose names I did not catch might be somehow connected to some of the other players. If so, it forms a more complete narrative structure, but if not the story remains just as strong just by the mere fact that each story is united by the various themes.
No matter what each audience member ends up thinking, it is hard not to feel something along the journey. The finale alone left me and my fellow travelers stunned into silence. I cannot speak for them, but for myself I felt as if someone had just peered into my essence and reaffirmed what I often times forget about life. To say that it made it all worthwhile is an understatement, it made this production feel like a necessary stop for anyone who enjoys stories that remind us of what we forget when we get caught up in the little details of life.
None of the above even begins to scratch the surface of the caliber of acting present in this production. While the structure might be where most of my interest came from, it was the performances that really sold the material. From the arguing married couple, to the ebullient mistress, to the shop owner, to the poetry spouting waif, the cast is solid throughout. It is because they were so good that the major moments really worked to help us connect on an emotional level with the events that were transpiring.
All in all, as far as immersive theater goes it is hard to top this production. While the events might not always be interconnected from a plot standpoint, the way they thematically entwine is an absolute thing of beauty. While there are certainly lots of immersive theater productions out there these days, I have seen very few that draw such strong emotions out of the audience members.
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