Fund for New American Plays

The Magic Fire

Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR

The Magic Fire concerns an immigrant family in Buenos Aires during the 1950s regime of Juan Perón. Refugees from Nazi Austria, Otto Berg and his family find themselves trapped in another Fascist system, and once again retreat, taking brilliant, blind, and sophisticated refuge in books, music, theater, and the arts. Their next-door neighbor, Henri Fontannes, a high-ranking officer in the Peronist army, is most likely seriously involved in Secret Police activity in which enemies of the state are known to "disappear." He and his wife Angelica share with the Bergs the geographical location of their living quarters and an ardent love for the arts. When the reality of the political situation enters the Bergs' own apartment (their maid's son is in hiding), they are forced to confront their ethical choices—morals and politics in place of art; and Fontannes becomes the only man who can help them.

Lillian Garrett-Groag's produced plays include The Ladies of the Camillias (eight Dramalogue Critics Awards) at the West End Playhouse and Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and The White Rose at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, the WPA Theatre in New York, and productions across the country. Recent commissions include Bone (Old Globe Theatre) and The Magic Fire (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). Her translations include Feydeau's A Flaw in the Ointment, with William Gray, at Seattle Rep, which she also directed; and Alfred de Musset's Lorenzaccio. Her most recent directing credits include Chilean Holiday at Actors' Theatre of Louisville and Die Fliedende Hollander and Die Fledermaus at the Virginia Opera. She also directed Tosca and the world premiere of Thea Musgrave's Simon Bolivar at the Virginia Opera. Other directing credits include The Day You'll Love Me at Mark Taper Forum's Taper Too, La Fiaca and The Granny at the Old Globe, The Beat Poets at the Mark Taper Itchy Foot Literary Cabaret, and Goldoni's Summer Vacation Madness, Part I at the Taper Too in co-production with UCLA. She took part as a director in the Sundance Institute Playwrights Lab. Garrett-Groag is also an actress, and has appeared on Broadway and in the leading resident theaters of the United States. She appeared at the Kennedy Center in The Kentucky Cycle. She is a founding member and one of three managers of the Antaeus Project at the Mark Taper Forum, and is an Associate Artist of the Old Globe. Founded in 1935, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is among the oldest and largest professional regional theater companies in the United States. Oregon Shakespeare Festival presents an eight- month season of 11 plays, four by Shakespeare and seven by more contemporary playwrights, in repertory in three theaters: the outdoor Elizabethan Theatre, the versatile and gracious Angus Bowmer Theatre, and the intimate Black Swan. The Festival, which received the Antoinette Perry Award in 1983, also offers numerous education programs, backstage tours, lectures, concerts, and one of the largest student outreach programs in the country.

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