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Night Fires returns for 35th annual performance, celebrates light at the darkest time of the year

Town Hall Theater is thrilled to welcome back the much-loved Night Fires. This year, Night Fires, the annual winter solstice play celebrating its 35th year, will be a big shout of hope inside a passionate prayer for this beautiful, aching country of ours. With a completely new script and story each year, the theme has always remained the same: that of setting out, at the darkest time of year, on a journey into and through a fruitful darkness in order to arrive at the “light”. And as in our country today, sometimes it is only when the dark is darkest, that countless small, strong, shining pin-points of light begin to show their faces for the first time.
Marianne Lust, the creator of Night Fires, has been the show’s producer, writer and director for all but a few of the 35 years.
“I love doing Night Fires more than any other theatre I do,” said the 70-year-old Lincoln resident. “I love ALL of it!”
With an eloquent plaiting of song, dance, poetry and prose, the production features music from folk traditions of many lands as well as contemporary folk and classical pieces, recent prose pieces from the times we all are currently swimming in, and dance that — along with the music — brings us always back to moments of utter timelessness in what has been called a “mystery play for our own time.” “Sometimes our ‘story’ is a vision of a traditional story,” Lust explained. “This year it is very much about us, here, now, in this country — some small humble attempt at a ‘prayer’ — for want of a better term — of hope — but a very unsentimental passionate one.”
A quote from James Baldwinin the show stands out for Lust: “One discovers the light in darkness; that is what darkness is for. But everything in our lives depends on how we bear the light.”
“There’s a lot of soul in Night Fires and I think it touches people and warms and sometimes even cracks open their hearts,” Lust said. “For us who create it together, it’s a sweet gift and part of the gift is knowing that it’s a little live gift to others as well — more than just entertainment, though goodness knows there’s nothing wrong with entertainment!”
Come see this show, rich in soul and spirit (that’s not in anyway religious) on Friday, Dec. 15, 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16, 4 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 17, 4 p.m. Pre-show singing begins approximately 20 minutes before each show. Tickets are $25, $21 for seniors and $20 for students (+$2 preservation fee) and may be purchased at townhallteater.org, by calling (802) 382-9222, at the THT box office (Mon-Sat, 12-5 p.m.) or at the door, if available.

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