Volume of Smoke

Written by: Clay McLeod Chapman
Directed by: Isaac Butler
Music by: Erik Sanko

Calamity at Richmond, Being a Narrative of the Affecting Circumstances Attending the Awful Conflagration of the Theatre in the City of Richmond, on the Night of Thursday, the 26th of December, 1811.

The Theatre of Venice was struck by lightning, 1769. Dozens were trampled to death.
The Amsterdam playhouse took fire, 1772. Seven people suffocated from smoke.
The theatre at Sargossa, 1772. Nearly half the audience perished.
The Palais Royal burnt to the ground, 1781 -- during the French opera, of all things.
The theatre at Montpelier, 1783. Five hundred lives were lost there.
The theatre at Mentz, 1786.
The London Opera House, 1789.
The Royal Circus, 1805.
The theatre at Altona, 1807.
The theatre at Berlin, 1808.

All burned down, hundreds of persons burnt with them.
And you ask me why I never go to the theatre.

People refuse to look back at their tragedies. They insist that for every current catastrophe, they were the first to experience it. But history proves otherwise. Tragedy is nothing new. To you or to the other hundreds of thousands of people who've experienced it. Try whining to the people who died in the fire at the Rickett's Circus in Philadelphia. The Pantheon. The Covent Garden.
From this fire, the people of Richmond will weep. They'll beseech for God's good will to spare them from such hardship.
But I'll tell you this: You just wait until the next generation comes. The same will happen to them, soon enough. And the next. And the next. And what none of them will ever realize is that it's happened all before. Particularly in Richmond.

This city deserves to burn down.