“Volume of Smoke” –the Richmond Theater Fire Play

If you haven’t had the opportunity to see author and playwright Clay Mcleod Chapman’s play “Volumes of Smoke,” it is a riveting dramatization of the Richmond Theater Fire from the viewpoint of the victims. Believe me, if it is being performed anywhere and I know about it, I’ll be posting it here. The play is based on original texts about the Richmond Theater fire, but is a creative re-telling. Clay’s witty, macabre style and grasp of evocative detail dramatizes the event in a way that is unforgettable.  Bone counts at the disaster site, a “bleeding nun,” a triptych of victim children, a whip-crack debate between an actress and a minister, the slave hero…and so many other poignant, sharp vignettes. Lucky for you, you can actually read the text for yourself (at least an early version) here, at the VCU Blackbird archive. You are welcome.