Dale sends in this report from the Crucible’s performance last night.
A group of us from Make went to The Crucible (thecrucible.org) last night in Oakland, CA to see Romeo and Juliet, a fire ballet. The performance, directed by Michael Sturtz, was a mesmerizing evening of flames, swordfights and various forms of dance. It was opening night and the gremlins of live theatre showed up. About a half-hour into the show, a flaming chandelier was raised to the ceiling, from which were hanging four lovely, acrobatic dancers. The flames touched off the sprinkler system and what started as a mist (beautifully lit in blue light) soon became a steady downpour. The show had to be stopped, and the particularly brave dancers were finally lowered to the floor. Michael Sturtz came to the stage and walked through the downpour, seemingly bowing to what had happened. He announced to the capacity crowd that this element of the staging was indeed unexpected and he’d have to regroup the team and see if the show could continue. The crowd cheered him on, although the people in the front rows were drenched. (Someone should have played James Taylor’s “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain.”)
A few minutes later Michael returned, and said that the “wonderful” Oakland Fire Department agreed to come out and reset the sprinkler system, allowing the fire show to continue. Meanwhile, Crucible volunteers gathered mops and every rag in the place to begin sopping up the water. The performers, many of whom were classical ballet dancers who were working in and around fire for the first time, were a bit shocked by it all. After almost an hour and a half, the performance resumed where it had left off. This was truly a heroic effort on behalf of all the performers and crew as well as Michael Sturtz. The show continues this weekend and next in Oakland, CA, presumably as a fire ballet without all the water. It is well worth seeing not just for the spectacle but also to support The Crucible’s educational programs. – Link