Bonfire Night
by Steve Leslie  

With 5th November fast approaching I started scrolling through a Google search of local fireworks displays where I might take my daughter this year. It struck me that bonfire and fireworks displays are not only very theatrical but also full of drama. The excitement, the anticipation and the squeals of amazement as each gunpowder filled rocket screams up into the air and explodes with a bang!

There are various theories around where the first fireworks came from, with most people believing China was the birthplace to the fireworks around 2000 years ago made accidentally when a cook  mixed together charcoal, sulphur, and saltpeter – all items commonly found in kitchens in those days. Since then, Fireworks have been commonly used in China at cultural events and festivities such as the Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. Fireworks symolize many historical events. In the days of the American revolution fireworks had become a popular way to celebrate national prosperity and patriotism.

Fireworks at Bonfire Night – Photo by: Mahnam 

Bonfire Night – Photo by: Mahnam 

And then of course there is the story of Guy Fawkes, the very reason we here in the UK gather together on Bonfire Night each year. And what a story! A rousing band of repressed 17th century Englishmen, led by the radical Guy Fawkes, plot to bring their tyrannical monarch down with a bang! A plot full of high drama from to start to the end. It was the plot line of Guy Fawkes which on a Google search lead me to discover Bonfire Night the Musical! – another fitting theatrical link – alongside of some movies which have been made based on Guy Fawkes story. Bonfire Night was presented in 2007 at The Robert Moss Theatre at the Playwrights Horizon Theatre School of New York University and had a concert reading in 2010 at New York Stage and Film at Vassar College. A great idea for a show but perhaps limited to a very short run each year.
Whatever fireworks symbolize for you please keep safe this November – with more caution to avoid spreading Covid-19 and seasonal flu – and if you are looking for a display in Hampton area, Carlisle Infant School always put on a good show. You’ll find it happening this year on Saturday 13th November and tickets are available by emailing to carlisleschoolassociation@googlemail.com.