Fireflies is Donja R. Love’s second play of his trilogy dealing with queer love through black history. It is set in the South just after the Birmingham church bombing that killed four little girls and, I warn you, this play is intense.
Behind every man is a great woman and in Fireflies that woman is the preacher’s wife Olivia. It’s the early 1960’s and she, like many other women, surrenders herself to her larger-than-life husband. Her husband Charles preaches throughout the South and Olivia arranges his schedules and writes his sermons. While he travels, Olivia writes letters to her friend Ruby. She tells Ruby that she is pregnant and does not want the baby of a man who is unfaithful and who she doesn’t love. She tells her about the fire within her and the fires she sees all around her. These are love letters and Olivia knows what she feels is forbidden so she never mails them. She hides them from Charles beneath the floorboards of their house. What occurs when Olivia tells Charles she wants to end the pregnancy, when he finds the Ruby letters and when he leaves for his next trip, is explosive.
Fireflies packs in a lot – infidelity, church bombings, rape, same sex love, abortion and domestic abuse. But at its heart Fireflies is a beautiful play about the transformation of a woman as she grows and finds her own voice. As directed by Saheem Ali, DeWanda Wise and Khris Davis were riveting. Their performances left me breathless and on the verge of tears for 90 minutes. LAR
Atlantic Theater, Linda Gross Theater, 336 West 20th Street
Ticket Prices: $25-$66.50
Discounts: $35 at BroadwayBox, Theatermania
Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission
Runs thru: November 11, 2018