THE MAGIC FIRE concerns a family of Italian immigrants in the Buenos Aires of the 1950s at the time of the death of Eva Perón. The father, Otto Berg, himself a refugee from Nazi Austria, and his family find themselves trapped in the fascist system of Juan Perón's regime, and once again retreat, taking private refuge in books, music, theatre and the arts. Their next-door neighbor, Henri Fontannes, a high-ranking officer in the Peronist army, is most likely involved in secret police activity in which enemies of the state are known to "disappear." He and his wife, Angelica, share with the Bergs the geographical location of their living quarters and an ardent love for the arts. When the reality of the political situation enters the Bergs' own apartment (their maid's brother is in hiding there), they are forced to confront their ethical choices—morals and politics in place of art, and Fontannes becomes the only man who can help them.
"Lillian Groag set about writing THE MAGIC FIRE a few years ago with an interesting image in mind. She wanted to create a big novel for the stage, with the rich texture, large cast of vivid characters and universal issues often found in a fine work of fiction. She succeeded. THE MAGIC FIRE effortlessly flows from short scene to short scene, and we come to have real affection for these people as we get to know them." —Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee). "This is a full-bodied drama, not minimalist or spare. The characters are flamboyant, the scenes are old fashioned and fully realized…It is three hours of delicious theatre…" —CurtainUp. "…considerable and wrenching power…" —Washington Post. "…a real tour de force…absolutely worth seeing…" —Philadelphia CityPaper.