Theatre in the Dark/Evening One: DARK/conceived by Ron Sossi and Sally Essex-Lopresti/with mini plays, some parables and others, original work by members of the company/directed by Sossi, Jeremy Aluma, Denise Blasor, David Bridel, Susan Heldfond/Odyssey Theatre/October 20 through December 16
This review may seem somewhat incomplete, for to describe the experience in great detail would do a disservice to those who will see the evening DARK or MORE DARK, both part of Theatre in the Dark on the Odyssey stage through December 16. Theatre in the Dark is literally just that, the stage is dark and the audience is dark, except for the glow of a candle onstage when you make your entrance to the auditorium. And then at curtaintime, it is blown out!You cannot see the actors except on occasion - two or three times - and then only a quick glimpse of them, followed by a blackout. The whole experience of no sight is to heighten the other 4 senses: sound, smell, taste and touch. You must listen carefully to every word, and are given the opportunity to smell, taste and touch at certain moments. That is all I will say, other than to express the feelings I had during the 90 minute period. I was at times irritable and impatient - this could have been because of the conditions, I'm not certain - at other moments excited, sad or happy, as a particular case presented itself.
There are 12 actors in the evening: Alan Abelew, Jack Axelrod, Marcia Battise, Denise Blasor, Ron Bottitta, Sheelagh Cullen, Jean Gilpin, Beth Hogan, Kristina Lloyd, Anna Nicholas, Cary Thompson and Terry Woodberry, all superb storytellers using various voices - man and animal - and a bevy of accents. How do they move about the auditorium without bumping into each other? You will find out at play's end. There are 5 directors: Jeremy Aluma, David Bridel, Denise Blasor, Ron Sossi - directing the majority, and Susan Heldfond. There are 11 writers and 5 playlets in Part One. My favorites include: Friedrich Durrenmatt's The Tunnel about a hellish train ride to... I was thoroughly riveted, feeling the ups and downs of the perilous journey, kind of like the excitement and fear of being on a roller coaster that may seem out of control. Another favorite was Anna Nicholas and Elegant Dinner. The sounds are so enticing, delectable, but the sight of what they are eating at the end is...My third favorite was A Happening with Beth Hogan performing what seemed an improv of sorts whereby our tastebuds were put to the test... Ron Sossi's Womb is pleasurably funny, and Sound in the Forest and The Ants, a Sufi parable, both make intelligent statements about what we do or do not perceive and how strategy/technique can get in the way of enjoyment ...
Concept theatre is difficult to execute and to absorb fully, but the experience is definitely worthwhile and will make you appreciate man's complex ability to utilize the senses optimally. The next time you hear, smell or taste something, savor every moment!