‘Fire in a Dark House’ a powerful tale of injustice at Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks through Nov. 15

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Inspired by historic events during World War I, the powerful world premiere production of Fire in a Dark House explores issues that still resonate today, including what it means to be an American, an immigrant, a young “dreamer” and a patriot.

Thoughtful yet intense, the play also examines family relationships and changing roles for women during a time of crisis.

Playwrights/directors Mona Z. Smith and Traci Mariano’s story revolves around two star-crossed young lovers Rose Roebling (Augusta Mariano) and James Lick (Aaron Stevenson) who find themselves, their families and community in turmoil as anti-immigrant fervor against German-Americans ignites during World War I.

The excellent cast’s spot-on timing and chemistry make the conflicts palpable. Mariano’s vulnerable Rose nears her breaking point, passionate Mary Roebling (Margy Love) fights for women’s rights, while Paul McCrillis’ slimy publisher Simon Lick promotes falsehoods. Sanford Reed’s charming Henry must choose between defending family or country, while romantic James (Stevenson) struggles between following his heart or his father’s wishes.

Production work is first rate, including Derrick McDaniel’s moody lighting, Jeffrey Scott’s evocative score, and dramatic visuals establishing mood and situation.

Poignant and timely, Fire in a Dark House considers what freedom, justice, loyalty and love really mean when confronted with propaganda, falsehoods and nationalism.

Whitefire Theatre and Slowly I Turned Productions present “Fire in a Dark House” Thursday nights at 8pm through November 15 at Whitefire Theatre located at 13500 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. Tickets cost $35, $25 for students/military with ID. For tickets and information visit FireinaDarkHouse.bpt.me or call (800) 838-3006.

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