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Flicker and a Firestarter (Imprints, a new play)

An evolution of IMPRINTS

Flicker: to move unsteadily. To burn or shine fitfully with a fluctuating light.  Fluctuating between two worlds.

Flicker: Or, as a psychic once told my mother as I lay in a coma, “She’s deciding which way she wants to go.”

And, as my mother retorted, “Well, she doesn’t have a choice.” (Psychic is then “escorted” out of the Pediatric ICU.)  

“Fight, my warrior, fight,” were the words my mother determinedly whispered to me throughout the months of my coma. Only she knew the real burn I was battling to save myself from: a secret that threatened to extinguish my inner fire, long before my external world, as I knew it, spontaneously combusted overnight.

So, how does a fitful movement of light, a smoldering glow, a molested teenager, a comatose nomad, or a paralyzed family learn to be more than a flash in the dark once they’ve been burned?

After trauma, can we ever be more than a flicker in the dark?

See photos from the Staged Reading of FLICKER AND A FIRESTARTER by Playlight Light Theatre Company here!

Synopsis: A young girl, Patricia, wakes up in a surgical ICU and to find her world forever changed. But even a coma cannot cool the burn of betrayal left from her abuser months before – a secret that only her mother knows, as she nervously waits by her daughter’s hospital bedside, along with her entire family.  Forced to come to terms with a dark past she’s kept hidden from even herself, Patricia now faces another self, Patty, born from a trauma which she had hoped to forget. As the two dueling protagonists struggle to face one another, rekindle their memories, and sparking a bold, new identity, what other secrets will be illuminated? Together, can they put out the flames which now threaten to engulf their entire world?  Can a family move forward after fire?

Who will be burned by the fiery blaze of secrets, and who will rise from the smoldering ashes of trauma?  Who puts out the fires that play with children?   Flicker and a Firestarter is a  poignant story of a family, ripped apart by fire, haunted by shadows, and reignited by the flickers of a heartbreaking past.



Flicker and a Firestarter is an evolved interpretation of IMPRINTS.  Read the Huffington Post feature.

“The imprints of traumatic experiences are organized not as coherent logical narratives but in fragmented sensory and emotional traces: images, sounds, and physical sensations.”

– Bessel Van Der Kolk “The Body Keeps the Score”

The Imprints of trauma burn deep.  It burns with painful memories and lessons that perhaps we weren’t ready to learn.

But Imprints can also be revived, erupting into flames and igniting our aliveness.    

Then, our “Imprints” become battle scars and warrior badges of honor. 


My World Has Split

Mixed Media “My World Has Split”

The Evolution of Flicker and a Firestarter

I believe we are all meant to be flames – not frozen states of matter, and not a gaseous puff of past that has gone up in smoke.  We are meant to flicker – to dance fitfully between the light and the dark.  Only when we fluctuate between both worlds do we truly know how to start a fire.  This fluctuation was the only way to gather insights I’ve acquired from these two worlds to create theatre: the ultimate spontaneous combustion. 

A trauma creates imprints on the soul and leaves us forever changed.  But how do we to reclaim who we are after these imprints have tested our resilience and leave us with scars that are sensed, but not seen?

Imprints, a new play by Amy Oestreicher, was given a full-length staged reading on Saturday, May 14th from 3:30pm to 5:30pm at the Producer’s Club Theater in the heart of NYC’s Theater District. The reading was directed by Lara Gold and produced by Mila Levine, of Stage Love Theater.  See photos here.

  1. An excerpt from Imprints will be featured in Manhattan Rep’s Short Play Contest August 17th and 20th. 
  2. See the developmental work with Playlight Theatre Productions!

The play was presented as part of Stage Love Theater’s new works festival, “to discover the undiscovered, to enhance the diverse cultural life of the community, and to create an oasis for self-expression, self-discovery, self-acceptance and nurturing of all artistic talents and pursuits.“

Learn more about Amy and her work at

  • Inspirations

Contact Amy here for inquiries.

Imprints and Judaism

A Passover dinner table is set at the foot of the stage with glasses partially filled, chairs half-pushed in and the entire world of a family interrupted in the midst of celebration – now a moment eerily preserved in time.

13165944_10154277819129658_837636062843498918_n“Passover will always symbolize a time of exile, redemption and rebirth for me.  I couldn’t think of more appropriate setting for Imprints, and for my own catharsis.  I took on the task of healing and the secrets that only a wounded healer is enlightened with, just a Moses was given the heavy knowledge of the Ten Commandments.  After the Ten Plagues were unleashed on Egypt, Moses led the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, where they wandered in the desert for 40 years, just as I hoped that my thriving self would eventually be inspired to lead my wounded self to safety.  The Exodus was not passive –we as Jews took an active role in escaping slavery. Every Passover, by telling our story, we affirm that next year we’ll be in Jerusalem, and next year we are going to be free.  Every year as my family eagerly awaited the day I’d be surgically reconstructed and we’d all regain our lives, we’d recite, ‘Next year we’ll have Passover,” imagining the day we would finally be blessed with food on our table once again.  ‘Next year we will be free.’ Free from our wounds, free from our imprints, and free to move on with our lives.”

Imprints and Sexual Assault

 Because of its themes of  the themes of prevention, PTSD education, and survivor empowerment, this is also a powerful message to share with the community.  Key themes here.

13239066_10154277820119658_8625375276887006177_n“I’m the one you invited from Sexual Violence Response. I think it is important that you know that I have worked as a social worker with interpersonal violence and I am a survivor myself.  That said, your play certainly resonates with me. Interestingly enough, one of the audience members asked someone what they thought the play’s message was, which started a meaningful dialogue.  I know that this one conversation above signified the importance of your play – that one person will leave with a better understanding of how trauma not only affects the individual but the family as well.  As far as the play itself, its depiction of sexual trauma – it is a realistic depiction of how it happens, how it is denied and ignored within a family structure because the horror of it i so difficult to face. The more people talk about it, (write about it), acknowledge it, the better people will learn to deal with it in a genuine way.  That is why this play needs to be seen. Thank you for inviting me.”

The play has one intermission, runs an hour and 50 minutes, 8 characters, who may be double cast.

If you are interested in participating in or viewing a production of Imprints, contact Amy today.

Upcoming Productions

Contact Amy for inquiries.

Learn more about Amy the playwright.

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