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Q&A with Artistic Director of Great Chicago Fire Festival, Jim Lasko

The Redmoon Theatre Artistic Director Jim Lasko gives insight to the Great Chicago Fire Festival. Lasko has been involved with the Redmoon Theatre since 1990, and this is the largest production that the theatre does annually.

Lasko explains the nuts and bolts of the production.
Lasko explains the nuts and bolts of the production. Photo Credit: Barbara Iverson

How is the rehearsal of this show going to work?

LASKO: “The truth is we will not get to rehearse this show ever. We will get to rehearse pieces of it but we won’t get to rehearse the show. We will never get a chance to see what it is actually like to carryout the event until the day of. ”

What is being burnt?

LASKO:  “The only thing that’s burning during the show is the cedar shingles and everything else will stay.”

How important is the attention to detail?

LASKO: “The attention to detail is crucial because something not going well could mean somebody’s life [as in they will die]. So the detail is very important we check everything and then double check.”

How many people did it take to create The Great Chicago Fire Festival?

LASKO: “The number of participants creating this event depending on how you draw the circle would be about 4,000 people over the course of the summer that gave their input on the website, brought props or shared their stories… In addition there will be about 2,000 people who volunteered to work on the show as performers and document the show . Finally, about 350 people or so were here at Redmoon Theatre working on the spectacle of the show. Lastly, there was a theatre group of about 80 people that were making decisions everyday in regards to the show.”

How much wood was used in the show?

LASKO: “There were about 600 pounds of wood used in the show.”

The Great Chicago Fire Festival will take place on the Chicago River between the State Street and Columbus Drive bridges starting at 8 p.m. on Oct. 4.

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