The Fire Room

ensemble theatre · fugitive kind · Ages 13+ · United States

world premiere
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June 14, 2013

My overall impression

Fringe is the time when I find new artists to follow the rest of the year. Otherwise I just stay in the same cycle of trusting who I know and rarely taking chances.

Right after I had the pleasure to interview this group group on Bitter Lemons*, I reserved my seat. They have a great energy, they know how to describe the work that interests them without bashing all others, and they’re game to try anything.

That’s the impression I got from The Fire Room as well. I don’t think they intended for the weather to match their locale, but otherwise the space felt great for the piece (echo and all).

Here is why I will follow them (and it’s a similar reason to Will Play For Food, Naomi Bennett and Four Clowns).
Fugitive Kind. Live. Theater. is on their programs, and everything they do and say creates an experience that takes advantage of being live. That room transported us and also somehow acknowledged they were telling their story FOR us, without that being a conceit.

The first few minutes make you guess at where we are, what’s happening, why are two people dressed from different time periods caressing? Then a reunion goes wrong, and for a few minutes so does the play. I don’t have any idea why the character of Meredith makes a specific choice in that scene, and they almost lost me. The story quickly returns to its path, though, and worth the wait.

Something about the three Administrative Assistants and live music place a fine point on the world of the play, one I greatly appreciated. This may have been part of their connection with the audience. We don’t often see detailed ‘background’ work on stage, and sometimes we can use a little help to understand the world you create (don’t get me started on how stupid it was to cut the Chorus from the film version of “Sweeney Todd”).

I honestly didn’t even know there was live music until the end (I sat on the opposite side of the crowded theater as the musician). I wasn’t sure I liked the Administrative Assistants until a few days later. They were not distracting, they were not telling, they were simply existing, doing their work and somehow inviting us into a strange place.

Most people throw up a projection screen to show place. Fugitive Kind takes the time to actually create a world and consider it from a few points of view, enhancing it with elements only found live.

So days later I find myself not thinking about the story itself, which was fine, but my gratitude for their devotion to create an experience.

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