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Virginia premiere of ‘Fireflies’ to include 14 performances at Live Arts

Crystal Graham
fireflies live arts
Submitted photo by Will Kerner

Live Arts will present the Virginia premiere of Donja R. Love’s powerful drama titled “Fireflies.”

Directed by Ti Ames, the run of “Fireflies” will include 14 performances from March 29 through April 20 in the Founders Theater at Live Arts.

The production takes you back to 1963 where four Black children have just been killed in the bombing of a baptist church in Birmingham, Ala. Olivia is the speechwriter for her husband, the Rev. Charles Emmanuel Grace, a galvanizing leader in the movement. As he returns home, we witness their marriage at a crisis point. In this story of endurance and empowerment, “Fireflies” delves into a myriad of topics including Olivia’s secret Queer love and Charles’ infidelity and alcohol abuse.

“Fireflies” is part two of a trilogy The Love*Plays where the playwright explores Queer love at significant moments in Black history.

  • Part One: “Sugar in Our Wounds,” is set during the Civil War
  • Part Two: “Fireflies,” centers on the civil rights movement
  • Part Three: “In the Middle,” takes place against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement

Love’s work celebrates the neglected stories often erased by history.

The Love*Plays “force us to reckon with the fact that love, without being monolithic, is our most essential need and deserved by all,” said the playwright.

Live Arts’ production of “Fireflies” is directed by Ti Ames. Directing credits for Ames include “The Brothers Size” and “Olympus: (Oberlin College); “She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms” (Renaissance School); “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Charlottesville Players Guild); “Rent”; “Crumbs from the Table of Joy;” and “And You Don’t Know Jacksh*T About the Mothman” (Live Arts).

The “Fireflies” cast includes Arianna Jones as Olivia and Simeon Brown as Charles.

The production’s creative team includes Kieryn Burton (assistant director); Khadijah Williams (production stage manager); Bee Smith (scenic design); Ant Ma (scenic design mentor); Laurence Hugo (lighting design); John Holdren (sound design); Kasey Brown (costume design); AV Légere (properties design); Daniel Kunkel (fight choreography); and Laura Rikard (intimacy consultant).

An opening night reception will follow the March 29 performance of “Fireflies.” A post-show talkback will be offered on April 11.

The Founders Theater at Live Arts is located at 123 E. Water St. in Charlottesville.

“Fireflies” is presented by Pamela Friedman and Ronald Bailey and sponsored by the Office of Social Equity of the City of Charlottesville.

Tickets are $27 for adults or $24 for students and senior citizens.

Tickets are available through the Box Office at [email protected]; by phone at (434) 977-4177 x123; or online at livearts.org/tix.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.