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Fire Flowers and a Time Machine: Wilbury and WaterFire create a community experience

Hosted by The Wilbury Theatre Group, WaterFire Arts Center and WaterFire Providence, Fire Flowers and a Time Machine is a community experience by travelers of both time and space. The Wilbury describes this installment as “a journey where we encounter both ancestors and descendants from our history and future. These guides bring forth knowledge and magic through a story that weaves monologues, poetry, dance and ritual to share with us the wisdom we will need as we continue the journey through the transformations of our era.” 

Directed by Shey Rivera Ríos, Fire Flowers and a Time Machine is an outdoor production created in collaboration with performing artists Sussy Santana, Becci Davis, Laura Lamb Brown-Lavoie, Saúl Ramos Espola, Maritza Martell, Lilly Evelet Manycolors, April Brown and others to be announced. Shey Rivera Ríos opens and closes the performance with a Native American perspective on past, future and ancestors, on vibrantly flowered staging.

Luna Moon’s melodic tunes filled the night; photo credit: Alison O’Donnell

Opening night included a performance by Luna Moon, who treated spectators to an audio experience as she recorded and stacked lovely harmonies to herself, which she then sang to. After that, she read the audience a tale from her childhood, bespeckled with loving family humor. She encouraged her audience to read to others, and let others read for them, as that is a joyful yet forgotten pleasure. Luna says of opening night, “I think the night was very special because it allowed us to finally be in a space where we could connect in person. I feel honored to have been a part.”

Sussy Santana spreads community cheer in autumn adornment; photo credit: Alison O’Donnell

Sussy (pronounced Suzy) Santana wore a beautiful autumn leaf cape created by her sister, and read a poem describing her transition from life in the Dominican Republic (DR) to America as a young girl. Sussy also shared with us the poignant recent passing of her father in DR, whom she had not been able to go see due to COVID. As sage burned, she encouraged those in the audience to breathe together in community, and to thank our hands and legs for serving us well. She then told us more about herself, and encouraged the audience to do the same for her. It felt good to have that exchange of human bonding, something we have all been craving during this pandemic. “Community is all we have,” says Sussy. “Taking care of each other has never been more important.” A happy discovery, she is the mother of Luna Moon.

Much like their Decameron Providence performance series, attendees move from stage to stage along a beautifully lighted path, about five times, nothing too strenuous. COVID restrictions and social distancing are in place for this public event. Bring a favorite comfy folding chair (or one will be provided for you) and an umbrella; the show runs rain or shine. Food and beverage may be purchased at the event, and donations are welcome.

Fire Flowers and a Time Machine runs through Oct 17. For tickets and more information, visit The Wilbury’s website at thewilburygroup.org/fire-flowers.html or their Facebook page. WaterFire Arts Center is located at 475 Valley Street, PVD.

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