The rage of fire and the purification of water are blended into one - and then displayed
throughout the “O” Theatre in this brilliantly visual act. Incorporating ancient folklore and martial
arts, this act invokes rituals from around the world including Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand and
Australia. The fire act was conceptualized and transformed by artists with different backgrounds,
from performance companies to street theatre. Incorporated in the act is the amazing fire stunt
of Ray Wold.
Set to "Terre Aride" (which translates into "Arid Ground") from the "O"
soundtrack, this act contrasts the watery world we've found ourselves in. The
way the theater glows during this act is what allures me to it - not only is the
light reflected in the huge circular mirror above the stage, but the entire theater
itself seems to turn into flame, as the performance wields itself onstage. When
one, two and even three men get into the performance and fight amongst themselves,
well... it is simply amazing how they pulse to the rhythms around them. In the end,
the water encompasses the fire, snuffing it out; however, we are left with one last
poignant image: that of an everyday man sitting in his chair nonchalantly reading
the newspaper while set aflame.
The hobo sits on his chair, casually reading a newspaper, seemingly oblivious
that his shoe has caught fire. Movement is almost imperceptible as the flames
spread from his foot to his legs, and then to his arms. Life has beaten him down
so far that he no longer feels the pain. The flames burn orange and blue, and it's
funny how he doesn't notice. Now, in the vernacular of firefighters, he is fully
involved. He rises from the chair and slowly walks away, tipping his cap.
(Temperatures outside Wold's suit climb to 900 degrees when he is ablaze. While
the materials protect him from being cooked, the heat is still overwhelming. It
takes 1,450 gallons of fuel each year for the fire acts.)