SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford Theatre will present Naomi Iizuka’s “The Last Firefly,” directed by guest artist and lecturer Sullivan Canaday White, at 8 nightly April 17 through 19 and April 24 through 27 in the Jerome Johnson Richardson Theatre in the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts. The play is recommended for audiences ages 8 and up.
Critically acclaimed for her poetic and imaginative storytelling, Iizuka is known for plays that blend classical and contemporary theatrical traditions from East and West. In “The Last Firefly,” she weaves Japanese folk tales into the story of a young boy on a perilous quest for an elusive truth.
White, co-founder of Project SEE Theater in Lexington, Kentucky, calls the show a story about the power of storytelling. “When a mother tells her son that his absent father is really thunder, the son sets out to find his dad and discovers, among other things, that lightning is his sister. The storytelling comes full circle when the son returns home, drives off his evil stepfather and learns that his mother had empowered him by making up her tale. Ultimately it is a play about the factual value of fiction and the real world benefits of using our imaginations.”
“The Last Firefly” also serves as a reflection on the relationship between humankind and the natural world. “In our world in which plants and animals are facing extinction due to development, overpopulation and climate change, playwright Naomi Iizuka imagines a mythic universe in which plants and animals – a monkey, a spider, a tree and even lightning – can speak and interact with at least one human, a boy named Boom,” White says. “The interconnectedness of all species on earth is part of the playwright’s message about respecting Mother Nature while learning from it and maybe even being saved by it.”
White has worked in New York, Chicago, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and in her home state of Kentucky at the Actors Theatre of Louisville and for Project SEE Theater. She recently directed “No Spring Chicken” by Ginna Hoben in Washington D.C., for the Women’s Voices Theatre Project. In addition to directing “The Last Firefly” this semester, White is teaching a course in movement for the stage at Wofford.
Discounted tickets for “The Last Firefly” can be purchased in advance at www.wofford.edu/boxoffice. Same-day online ticket sales close at 6 p.m., and the box office opens at 7 p.m. in the front lobby of the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts.
All students – $3 online / $5 at the door
Wofford faculty/staff – $10 online / $12 at the door
General public – $13 online / $15 at the door
Wofford Theatre will conclude its 2018-19 season with a production of Amiri Baraka’s “Dutchman” in the Sallenger Sisters Black Box Theatre, May 8-11 at 8 p.m. Admission is free, but seating is limited.