Fireflies: A new play for ages 0-5
The audience is greeted by a small green light: a firefly! The FIREFLY guides the audience into a warm, softly lit cave made of fabric. They gather on rock pillows as live percussion and guitar create the soundscape of this magical underground place. The audience gradually becomes aware that there is a creature in the cave with them, sleeping and snoring loudly. Each snore is a musical strum, building until the creature, ONE, wakes with a snort.
ONE begins her morning routine. She is a bat-like creature, and first she stretches her wings. She says good morning to the stuffed animal she sleeps with. She tests a toe out into the cold, rocky floor of the cave. Each of her movements generates a sound. She climbs out of her cozy nest and folds up her blankets, her footsteps each plucked notes. She unrolls a yoga mat, and goes through her morning stretching routine, lifting into an upside-down bat stretch and flexing her legs and feet.
She takes out her grooming supplies. She brushes her ears, spritzes her wings, and flosses her toes. She goes through a ritual of turning on each of the lights in the cave. When the lights come on, a lovely gong sound is heard.
Finally, ONE sets up her plate and cup to prepare for breakfast. As she does, a FIREFLY darts into ONE’s cave. ONE has never seen a firefly before, and is immediately entranced. The FIREFLY lands one ONE’s nose. It tickles, and ONE sneezes it off. The firefly dances in ONE’s wings and hides beneath a pillow. ONE searches and finds it with delight. When the FIREFLY lands on ONE’s plate, ONE has an idea: she’ll invite the firefly for breakfast. After all, ONE is a lonely creature, and she would love a friend to share her meal. As ONE begins to set up another plate, however, the firefly leaves. ONE is disappointed, and leaves to go retrieve her breakfast with a heavy heart.
Soon after she leaves, the FIREFLY returns, leading in TWO, a cave explorer and a mole-like creature. The FIREFLY has brought ONE a friend, but now ONE is gone. FIREFLY leaves TWO in the cave. TWO is overjoyed at finding this new place. She explores everything she sees, taking great delight in discovering how each item makes a different sound. She unfurls the bedding, unrolls the yoga mat, unwinds the floss, and bumps into the lights, shutting them off. TWO is not an orderly creature, and quickly she has made a mess of the cave. When she hears ONE returning, she realizes what she’s done. Scared, she turns off the final light and hides.
ONE enters her home to find the lights out. She stumbles to one of the lamps and turns it on, only to discover the complete state of chaos her cave is in. As she surveys the mess, TWO sneaks to the lamp and turns it off, hoping to be able to make it out of the cave unnoticed in the dark. But as she turns the light out, ONE turns another on. TWO follows ONE, turning the lights out as she turns them on. This chase continues, building, until the lights can take no more and refuse to work. Suddenly, the cave is dark.
TWO finally has an opportunity to escape. She moves for the door, but ONE hears her musical footsteps. ONE stomps her own foot to get TWO’s attention: “How dare you do this to my cave!” TWO continues to leave until her conscience gets the better of her. In the dark, the creatures can only communicate through the sounds their bodies make. They “talk” to one another through footsteps, gradually discovering the sounds that occur when they move in harmony. Their movements become a dance. The dance is joyful until ONE accidentally steps on TWO’s toe, and they remember the situation at hand— broken lights, a very messy cave. ONE is still angry, and TWO is pouting over her hurt toe.
Just as tension builds, the FIREFLY returns, with a whole cloud of firefly friends. They dance through the space, lighting up ONE then TWO’s face, illuminating them for the first time to each other. The FIREFLIES swoop into the lights, fixing them and bringing light back into the cave. TWO helps ONE clean up the cave, and they make up. The FIREFLIES lead ONE and TWO to the table to sit down for the meal ONE had hoped to share with a friend. As they eat, the FIREFLIES dance into the crowd, giving lights to the audience and inviting them to come explore the cave with the creatures. Music plays and everyone dances.
Workshop performance at ZACH Theatre, 2015
Video features Briana Bower, Kate Ducey, Katy Taylor (performers); Jada Cadena, Joanna Garner, Alexander Villarreal (musicians); directed by Tamara Carroll; visual design by Rebecca Drew Emmerich. Filmed by Olivia DeBeck.
Photos by Olivia DeBeck