Michael Raver is a rising playwright everyone should have their eye on! His new play, Fire on Babylon, which is in the Fresh Fruit Festival, is HOT! In fact, it's scalding with twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole play!
Fire on Babylon is about two New Yorkers each locked in personal crisis, while the city is having one of its own: the 2003 blackout. Between Michael's script, the set, the acting, and the direction, Fire on Babylon took me back to August 14, 2003, the day of the Northeast blackout. I was filled with emotions and those feelings lasted the throughout the show. The uncertainty of what was initially happening in the city, the fear, the crowds of people you saw walking the streets, the comradery of strangers, were all perfectly conveyed here.
At the onset, I thought, perhaps, the play was going to be a typical gay story of older man/younger man, but little did I know, that feeling was going to be short-lived. It wasn't long until the lights went out and we were in the darkness of the blackout watching little rays of light shine through as secrets are revealed. First one secret, then another, and another, and before you know it, Fire on Babylon is taking you on a road you did not expect to go. As the truth unfolded, so did their hurt, which just seemed to get deeper and deeper throughout the play. But through these revelations, I learned so much about each character and how they got to where they are. Fire on Babylon really displayed the sentiment of how secrets and lies can crush a person's soul, but when the truth is set free, one can rise up and move forward.
Michael's words are rich, powerful, and intriguing. He has a great way to setting the story up and just when you think you might know what's going to happen, he throws a wrench in the mix and takes you in a different direction, only to make another turn you were not expecting, but leads to the end. While the road to the end might be full of twists and turns, it's these uncertainties that kept captivated me. Life is unpredictable and Michael did an excellent job of showing that in Fire on Babylon.
Not only did Michael write the play, but he starred in it too, opposite Jeffrey Hayenga. Michael and Jeffrey had great chemistry together. They played well off of each other and effortlessly made me feel as though they could have been in a real relationship. Paul Mason Barnes' direction was great. I felt he really understood the concept of the play and helped excute it very well. I loved the set. Simple, but super effective. It easily reminded me of the apartment I had to stay in during the blackout as I could not make my way home.
Fire on Babylon is a strong piece that is worth checking out. There are only two performances left of this show in the Frest Fruit Festival: Friday, July 15th at 6pm and Sunday, July 17th at 5pm. Be sure you get there before the lights go out forever on this run of the show! Fire on Babylon plays at The Wild Project in NYC's East Village (195 East 3rd Street, between Avenue A & B). Click here for tickets!
If you missed my interview with Michael Raver about this show, click here to read it!
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