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A small fire in the Loeb Experimental Theatre Friday night, turned an otherwise routine performance of "Fireworks for a Hot Fourth" into a comic travesty of the play itself.
The fire broke out when one of the actors accidentally threw his lit cigarette on a rubber tarpaulin behind the stage. Seconds later, smoke began to rise from the back of the stage.
The play, concerned with the destruction wrought by forms of fire in a town, seemed to incorporate the fire on stage into the plot. While two of the actors tried to stamp the fire out unnoticed, another member of the cast spoke of his life in "ashes and smoke."
The audience soon caught on when one actor was forced to retrieve a liquor bot-tle, which had been used in a previous play, and pour it on the now very visible clouds of smoke. The play struggled on from that point but the fire was never fully extinguished until after the play had finished.
"We really had the stage on fire: it was really smoldering!" Donnally Miller, one of the cast members. said after the play. The actors never were able to regain their composure on stage and laughed through their lines for the last ten minutes of the play. At the end. a speech by an old man saying, "it's a bad night to set fire to this place" left the audience laughing. A final improvised line starting, "I don't smoke; I only start fires." ended the play on a much more comic note than if it had continued normally.
One in a Series
The other actors had little or no comment afterwards except to say that they were happy that they had finished the performance. This was an accomplished feat for this cast; the night before an actress had been hit on the head by a bar, and another member of the cast had accidentally set his hair on fire during the performance.
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