I’ve never been one to believe in the magic of fortune telling until this this summer, after attending a performance where Nick Jonczak awarded me a quick, one-card tarot reading. That gave me a little faith in an invisible universe that already sees our futures.
Well, if you believe in fortune telling and following the stars, “Fly by Night” at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is the perfect musical for you. It shows you how the blackout of 1965 mended relationships and brought people closer together. I highly urge you to eat and drink before you come and take advantage of the restroom before the show starts. The approximate run time is two hours and twenty minutes.
As the auditorium becomes dim, lights play the roles of stars to brighten the stage. You hear the drums, the keyboard and the guitar begin to play a tune you can nod your head to. Then the narrator comes on stage and begins to croon. Nathan Robert Pecchia is really the man to pay attention to throughout the performance. His vocals are subtle but strong. He also plays multiple characters. You’ll be able to identify them by how he wears his scarf.
In 1964, Daphne (played by Maya Farhat) decides to leave South Dakota and drive to New York to follow her dreams of being on Broadway. She takes her older sister Miriam (played by Brooke Steele) with her, who has never had any real dreams of her own. She has worked at a diner for the last ten years, and following in her late father’s footsteps, likes to stare at the stars. After entering New York, Miriam finds a diner to continue her love of pouring coffee and Daphne ends up selling suit coats after being turned down for a part in Broadway show. She realizes her name in lights may be harder to achieve than she thought.
While working in the retail shop, Daphne meets Harold, (played by Michael Gerard Carr) who works across the street at the sandwich shop. Their love for music is pure, but adoration for each other is awkward, reminiscent of your first relationship in seventh-grade. Daphne and Harold take it to the next level and agree to get married. I’ve had plenty of seventh-grade relationships, and they never made it that far. My last name has been the same for the past 31 years!
Not only does Daphne have the pleasure of becoming a fiance, she lands a part in a Broadway show. Needing more money to help her survive, she sells the family car that got her and her sister to New York. The same car that gets her sister to work every day. Being reduced to walking fifteen blocks to work, Miriam stumbles upon an old, peculiar woman, who reads her fortune from a crystal ball. She informs Miriam that she will fall in love with a man who is forbidden. He will bring her great joy, but she will feel guilty. He is her soul mate, but he is off-limits. This sounds like every guy I dated in my 20s. Like Miriam, I would find the guy and fall in love.
Miriam is instructed there will be three signs she needs to look out for — when time stops, the numbers 527 and melody recognition. These tales will let her know she has found her soulmate. But as everything seems perfect, she will suffer a great fall and her world will be no more. Without providing spoilers, I will say this: if you find your soulmate, or who you believe to be your soulmate, do not let that person go. Although the blackout occurs, it brings light to the love people have in their hearts for themselves, for others and for their passions. If you choose to have your fortune read, live your truth, all the way to the outcome. Just because you know how it will end doesn’t mean you won’t find delight and meaning along the way. You never know what lies in the stars for you.
I am visiting New Orleans this month and plan to see a fortune teller while I’m there.
Marissa Staples is Cincinnati published author and writer for “The Voice of Black Cincinnati.” She developed her love of arts from her mother, Kandi. Being a native of Cincinnati, she loves to travel. If she is not traveling, you can find her reading, writing, volunteering or drinking wine. Wine always brings smiles, friends and creative dialogue.