Published: 4/23/2021 12:42:06 PM
Nora Fiffer and Jason Lambert, co-founders of Firelight Theatre Workshop, found themselves in a similar position to most performance companies a little over a year ago.
What they had planned for 2020 – Firelight’s third season – was no longer possible. But instead of shutting down, leaving Firelight’s faithful audience without the creative efforts they have come so accustomed to, the co-artistic directors forged ahead and what came out of meeting that challenge head-on may very well shape the future of the Peterborough-based theater company.
“Season three felt so different,” Fiffer said. “But it’s opened the door to so many opportunities.”
The latest example of that innovative thinking is the eighth installment of “We Were Friends, Commitment: Big Hearts.” The project an episodic series reimagining the profound friendship of Margaret Fuller and Ralph Waldo Emerson – set in today’s world. Tickets for the eighth installment are available Thursday, April 22 and it will be a creative journey unlike any other in Firelight’s history.
“We like to try new things and our audience is up for a new experience each time,” Fiffer said.
In collaboration with Drum Production Studio, Fiffer and Lambert star in a video journey imagining Emerson and Fuller drafting a video postcard to English essayist Thomas Carlyle, who Emerson corresponded with throughout his life. It continues a theme of creating impactful theatre in a way that can be enjoyed in a safe environment, following in the footsteps of last year’s “We Were Friends” episodes that included a collection of letters sent to audience members and an old school radio show listened to from the parking lot outside Firelight’s theater space.
“We continue on that path to find new ways to engage our audience,” Fiffer said. “We want to immerse our audience in the theater experience we create.”
Since audiences can’t gather and be part of the collaboration, it has required Fiffer and Lambert to strive for a higher level of theater experience, one that still provides an engaging and communal approach.
The eighth episode of “We Were Friends” is just the beginning of what is planned for 2021. “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Rain” by Will Enos will be directed by Laura Carden and performed by Fiffer and Lambert, and will be a dive into the streaming world of theater, which Fiffer admits “is something a little different for us.”
“There’s still this question of continuing to adapt to what is viable, what is safe, what audiences and collaborators are comfortable with,” Lambert said. It’s about finding a way to articulate the vision and mission for Firelight.
“It is still a work in progress in terms of what are the concrete goals for the workshop,” Lambert said.
The goal is always to find new avenues to engage and build more of a wider audience appeal and “how can we get more people to participate in the theater experience,” Lambert said.
Toward the tail end of the summer, the plan is to have a traveling show using the play “The Ding Dongs, Or What’s the Penalty in Portugal?” by Brenda Withers. It’s a three-person piece and is planned for a three-week run at outdoor venues around the region.
“We’re still in the let’s see what we can do phase,” Lambert said. Prior to the end of the season, episode nine of “We Were Friends” will be released and Tiny Stories is being planned once again.
They long for the time when things get back to normal, when they can pull in more collaborators and act on some of the terrific ideas that have been thrown around over the last year. But until then, Fiffer and Lambert will challenge themselves creatively to create content they can both be proud of and will give audiences a new way of looking at theater.
For more information and tickets, visit firelighttheatreworkshop.com/.