Closing out Factory Theatre’s 2021-22 Season is the dark and hysterical Wildfire. Written by David Paquet and translated by Leanna Brodie, Wildfire is wickedly smart and had the audience in stitches. Directed by Soheil Parsa, you simply cannot miss seeing this production.
The performances in Wildfire are a veritable masterclass; each performance is powerful, nuanced, and captivating. Paul Dunn, Soo Garay, and Zorana Sadiq are brilliant, as an ensemble and individually, and with very little set or props they are the sole focus of our attention throughout the play. Starting out as the triplets Claudette, Claudine, and Claudia, I loved how not only were they addressing the audience directly, they were conscious of us as an audience to their stories. They weave together their singular tales into a greater picture of their lives and the traumatic events which have gotten them to this point. Wildfire navigates us through the gamut of human emotion and these incredible actors take us all along for the ride. Dunn’s Claudine is sweet just like the cookies she bakes, and yet you get that sense of loss and loneliness fully from Dunn’s performance. Garay’s Claudette breaks your heart; as she tells you the story of her recent loss you can’t help but feel for her and Garay gives you all of that empathy through her performance. I felt like I understood Claudia the most; Sadiq presents a very driven, focused character who is all too good at hiding her secrets from her sisters. I loved it when the three of them physically interacted with one another; their energy and chemistry on stage made for an unforgettable ending to the first part of the play. The second characters they play in the second and third parts of the play are enlivened just as deftly as the first part, with each character’s unique traits poured forth by the actors. Garay’s final monologue of the play should not go without mention. It was brilliant from start to finish and she had me absolutely rapt.
I really enjoyed how Paquet (and Brodie) plays with the idea of the cyclical nature of families. As the story moves from one part to the next, and little pieces of information are given, you start to see how all of the characters fit together and then you understand how this family almost seems cursed to have horrible things happen to them. Paquet states that he turned to Greek Tragedy for inspiration and that was clear through several elements of the play. The fact that all of the characters or orphaned (or thought to be orphaned) with little to no knowledge of their real families is a familiar archetype. But even just simple things like the number 3 which was thought to be a very powerful number in ancient civilizations; the initial characters being triplets, a story told in 3 parts, it was very well done. I also loved the little things that carried through like cookie names for pets and everyone having a name that starts with C (the 3rd letter of the alphabet). The text is just so well constructed and planned out and doled out little bits of delight as the call backs to previous parts of the play were given. It was enchanting from start to finish and left me pondering its themes long after the last blackout.
This is a phenomenal show to close out Nina Lee Aquino’s final season as Artistic Director. Her comments before the show last night had tears in my eyes. Thank you for this space and the worlds you have created within it Nina! I’m so grateful to have witnessed even just a small portion of the works you have put on at Factory.
Folks, I can’t stress enough how much you need to get out and SEE THIS PLAY! They have several pricing options and reduced capacity so that it’s safe and affordable for everyone to come out! You can purchase tickets online at Wildfire — Factory Theatre
Pictured (L to R): Soo Garay, Paul Dunn, Zorana Sadiq; Set & Lighting Design by Kaitlin Hickey, Costume Design by Jackie Chau, Photo by Dahlia Katz