The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday May 21st

Addled Muse Fire Theater plays with fire in 'Purgatoire'

Addled Muse Fire Theater put on their original show called “Purgatoire” on Saturday, Nov. 11, restaging it for another year due to last year's success. Through dance, music and fire, a French baroque-styled love story set in Purgatory was told. 

“We created a theatrical story that is completely original, and then we integrated fire arts, fire breathing and circus arts within the story — it was kind of a melting pot of all those elements,” said Alexandra Simpson, a co-founder and visionary director of the production. "'Purgatoire' is mainly a story about two lovers who end up falling in Purgatory. They end up interacting with archetypal characters that end up representing the seven deadly sins. It’s their journey through Purgatory."

"Purgatoire" is not your typical play setting — it's more like a circus performance, one made up of fire and acrobatics.

“There is actually no dialogue in 'Purgatoire,'" said Erica Wagner, co-founder and aesthetics coordinator. "If I was to compare it to anything, I would compare it to a fire ballet. We really utilized movement to tell the story. And the music, which our musical composer, Adam Klesitz, created all by himself for the sole purpose of this play.”

In this year's production, elements were heightened, and even more tricks were added.

"'Purgatoire,' was received very well, and there were people that were upset that they missed out on it," said Kelley Carey, a co-founder and visionary director of the production. "We wanted to revamp it and grow it and have another opportunity to present it to the public. We had some different fire props — some change up in character and some different performers this time. We also changed some of the aerial parts.”

An unique characteristic of Addled Muse Theater and "Purgatoire" was the fact that all members of production participated in many roles, both in the making and the performing of the play. 

“What I really loved about this show is even though we presented our performers with a script, I loved that our performers were able to bring their own perspectives to the parts and make their parts their own," Wagner said. "They were able to elevate what we created. It really was a communal work. Everyone in this show did multiple parts and helped it come to be.”

The success of the performance both this year and last Carey attributed to the support the Triangle provides Addled Muse Theater.

“Since we have moved to the Triangle area, we have found a really great support in the arts community here and theater community," Carey said. "Everyone as a whole has been really welcoming, and we are really glad to have the community behind us.”


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