Firelight Theatre taking live show on the road around region

  • Firelight Theatre Workshop will produce “The Ding Dongs, or What is the Penalty in Portugal?” at locations around the Monadnock Region from Sept. 10 through Oct. 3. Courtesy photo

  • Firelight Theatre Workshop will produce 'The Ding Dongs, or What is the Penalty in Portugal?' at locations around the Monadnock region from Sept. 10 through Oct. 3. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/8/2021 12:04:15 PM

Firelight Theatre Workshop will take its fall production on the road to parking lots around the Monadnock region beginning this weekend.

In its first live production since 2019, Firelight will produce “The Ding Dongs, or What is the Penalty in Portugal?” exclusively outdoors under the crisp fall night air over the next four weekends in Peterborough, Jaffrey, Antrim and Harrisville.

Written by Brenda Withers, the story begins on a seemingly innocuous Tuesday night. The doorbell rings at the suburban home of Redelmo, played by Eddie Gomez, who isn’t expecting company. On the other side of the door is Joe (Jason Lambert) and Natalie (Laura Carden), a boisterous couple to say the least.

Turns out Joe grew up in the home that Redelmo now lives in and wants to come inside. Like most would be, Redelmo is caught off guard and hesitant, but as producer and Firelight co-artistic director Nora Fiffer explains, Joe and Natalie and persistent to the point of being pushy. Redelmo agrees and what ensues is an evening spent together “in a dance of razor-sharp wit and physical comedy.”

As Firelight explains in its announcement of its return to live performance “Between Withers’ clever dialogue, guest director Nathaniel Justiniano’s physical direction, Sarah Sandback’s colorful costumes, and Rory Hurley’s playful soundscape, “The Ding Dongs” will give viewers an evening of laughter and reflection.”

While this is the first in-person production for Firelight in two years, the Peterborough-based theater group never stopped creating and producing works for audiences. They just had to find different ways to deliver it in the age of social distancing. But the goal was always to once again bring people back together.

“It’s been so long since we’ve done live theater there will be that new anticipation, excitement,” Fiffer said.

Since Firelight has never been a group that uses a fixed stage, the level surface of parking lots at the Guernsey Building in Peterborough, where Firelight’s studio is located, Humiston Field in Jaffrey, Mayfair Farm and the Harrisville General Store and Great Brook School/Antrim Elementary allow for ideal lighting for after sunset performances and to place rolling set pieces.

“We use our environment as the world of the play and let it inform it,” Fiffer said.

This will be the second show that Firelight has taken to communities around the region, the first being the initial installment of “We Were Friends,” although performances in Jaffrey and Antrim are something that has never been done.

“It’s about bringing theater to new places and meeting new people along the way,” Fiffer said.

Competing against the sounds of nature and other unavoidable noises, Fiffer said this will be the first time Firelight has used a microphone system. At that same time though, the goal is to “give audiences an immersive experience,” she said.

Fiffer described Withers’s work as “brilliant and funny and sharp and deep” and “I hope it sparks some really interesting conversations,” Fiffer said. Justiniano, Fiffer said “brings a lot of his physicality and dynamic to the production,” through his directing style.

Productions begin Friday, Sept. 10 and run Thursday through Sunday evenings through Oct. 3. The show runs 75 minutes. The full schedule with tour locations, times, and dates can be found at Tickets are $25 for general admission, $20 for Firelight Members, and $15 for students. Seating is limited. Advance tickets are strongly recommended.


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