Welcome to Tanglewood, where nature meets theater
What: Midsummer Cabaret
Where: Tanglewood Art Revival & Outdoor Theater, 4104 Y Rd.
WHEN: 6:30pm Thurs.-Sat.., Aug. 26-28; 3:30pm Sun., Aug. 29
Cost: Suggested donation is $5
Monday, August 23, 2021
If you happen to be passing by a certain acreage on the 1400 block of Y Road this weekend, don’t be surprised if you spy a 14-foot-tall puppet pop up out of nowhere.
The giant sun-faced being who will be festively festooned in flowing crimson garments is part of a “Midsummer Cabaret,” and will be there to entertain audiences who will be gathering Aug. 26-29 to help inaugurate the Tanglewood Art Revival and Outdoor Theatre by watching the puppet-powered performances.
During the al fresco shows, spectators will see how nature meets theater when a ragtag group of live musicians, puppeteers and players tell the tale of how music is returning to the Earth after a long silence. The myth-making magic will come courtesy of Firefly Productions, a theater nonprofit co-founded in 1996 by Suzanne Mackay and Keefe Healy—a duo who had met a couple of years earlier at England’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and quickly learned their shared passion for new writing and directing could very well lead to something special.
The award-winning theater company is dedicated to providing affordable theater to diverse audiences. It also aims to develop cultural and historical educational curriculum and internships, and to “reach out for brand-new works of theater in order to find, learn, experience and preserve our current theatrical and cultural trends.”
Formerly based in Cambridge, Vermont, Firefly Productions now makes its home in Bellingham. That’s where Ephraim Kurszewski comes in. As a landowner with extra space to work with, he’s hoping to make the Tanglewood Art Revival and Outdoor Theatre a more permanent part of the city’s cultural landscape.
“About seven years ago, I had Stone Town Theatre Works come out here and we did a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Kurszewski says on a promo clip for this weekend’s shows. “Partly to honor that history, we’re calling this production a ‘Midsummer Cabaret.’
“There’s still an operating farm here, and we did a little bit of theater and we did some farming and it was wonderful to have that community around this space,” he adds. “Now after the pandemic we feel like we want to bring artists together again and to share this space out here in the Squalicum Valley. It’s a good place to create theater. It’s a good place to create music. In the future, we’re looking at bringing more people out. We look forward to doing more here.”
Founded on the philosophy that the world is a better place when people can work, create and play together, Tanglewood hopes to bring fun, festive and thought-provoking shows to life. For the “Midsummer Cabaret,” collaboration took many forms—including days of mask-making, script work and building a stage in the middle of a field.
Crowd sizes are being kept to a minimum for the cabaret to promote social distancing, so interested parties will want to procure tickets in advance before sussing out the phantasmagorical puppet extravaganza. Rest assured, both the puppets and people will welcome you.