“Theatre in the Dark” Part 1 “DARK”
Theatre in the dark, really! No light, no stage set. What am I going to look at? Can I review something that’s in the dark? I can’t mention the stage set or the staging. The lighting person gets the shaft. This is going to be hard. I am pretty sophisticated when it comes to theatre, but I will admit I was a little skeptical. So as I was talking to myself, I said self, what are the reasons for seeing a play completely in the dark? “Well let’s think. One, you’re having a bad hair day, and you don’t want to scare the actors. Two, you’re with someone who is married, and you don’t want to be seen grabbing at each other, or three, you really like the dark. However the best reason for seeing this play is it’s just really good. It’s creative and imaginative and full of surprises. Yes, it’s definitely in the dark, no lights, on the stage or otherwise.
Imagine being in this theatre with strangers all around you and you can’t see them. Its sounds creepy but it really isn’t. It’s so dark you can’t see your hand in front of you. We have become such a visual junkies living in the electronic age of computers and TV. It’s hard to imagine just sitting and listening. I don’t want to give away my age but before TV, families would sit around the radio and just listen to the voices of trained actors go into details about the stories. They were left to rely on their imaginations. By the way, I am not that old. We had TV but my grandparents couldn’t read English, so they would just tell me stories. I loved it. It inspired mental creativity.
In “Theatre in the Dark” all your senses are heightened as you sit there experiencing the actor’s voices. Your mind and emotions are on a little roller coaster ride. You go from happy to sad or angry, hungry to full, and at times disgusted, while a scene or two just might enchant you.
The play is really a series of original short stories. Some of the stories were written by the Director, Ron Sossi and some were written by our old favorites, Edgar Allen Poe, and Shakespeare. This play has several writers and directors, all listed below.
As we sit in the dark we are taken from a train tunnel “The Tunnel” (complete with great sound done by John Zalewski) to a dinner where we can almost taste the food the actors are feasting on. The lights flash on for a second and you’re horrified at the sight of the meal you were salivating over. This wasn’t your average meat and potatoes meal, but at least it’s organic. There are stories that are creepy like “The Ants” I hate Ants. All I could think about was that site of ants crawling all over my honey jar. YUK! One story plays on your moral emotions as you listen to prison guards, Marcia Battise, and Ron Bottitta verbally abuse a prisoner, Alan Abelew. “String (voices in Blind 1).”
I just couldn’t help but think of Abu Ghraib. Beth Hogan does a lovely job expressing her love for food, as she takes us shopping through a very familiar gourmet food market (She even includes some secret little goodie bags to enhance the moment. A soft light flashes as Jack Axelrod lulls us with his smooth dance moves. “Dancing in the Dark.” Let us not forget the traditional ghost story. It’s a good story, with a real ghost. Not that I was scared mind you, but my friend was; she’s such a wimp. I am sure you will react to these wonderful stories in some way.
I want to congratulate the Odyssey for this fabulous production. Over the past few years they have done some interesting and unusual productions. Artistic Director Ron Sossi and Beth Hogan work hard to produce good quality shows. Some are original or new to the West Coast. The acting and directing is always quality as are the stage sets and lighting etc.
This Production was done as a collaboration with different writers,’ actors and directors and is exclusive to the Odyssey. You can’t TiVo it, or watch it on demand. You can’t get it on video, not at this time anyway. So get off the couch and just go see it. And remember you don’t have to worry if you’re having a bad hair day.
Part 1, “Dark” playing now.
Part 2, “More Dark” opening Nov, 10th
For those of you looking for creative and interesting things to do on a weekend night this is it. If you’re not one of those people just do it anyway, it’s good for you to try something new.
Directed by, Ron Sossi, Jeremy Aluma, Denise Blasor, David Bridel, Susan Heldfoud
Performed by, Alan Abelew, Jack Axelrod, Marcia Battise, Denise Blasor, Ron Batttitta, Sheelagh Cullen, Jean Gilpin, Beth Hogan, Kristina Lloyd, Anna Nicholas, Cary Thompson and Terry Woodberry
2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd. LA 90025, (310) 477-2055
Wednesday, Friday, Saturday @ 8 pm, Sundays @ 2 pm and 5:30 pm
Please check the site www.odysseytheatre.com
Next week, “Empanada for a Dream”, Los Angeles Theatre Center, And “Red and Brown Water” at the Fountain Theater.
by Rose Desena