‘Black Comedy’ Lightens the Mood at Oldcastle Theatre
The fun begins when the lights go out as Bennington’s Oldcastle Theatre presents Peter Shaffer’s farce, ‘Black Comedy,’ opening Friday, August 21, and running through Sunday, September 6. A hit in London and New York and in countless productions around the globe, the action in ‘Black Comedy’ happens in the dark, illuminated for the audience’s benefit. Set in swinging sixties, the story concerns an unscrupulous sculptor who has embellished his apartment with furniture and objects d’arte ‘borrowed’ from the absent antique dealer next door, hoping to impress his fiancee’s pompous father and a wealthy art buyer. The neighbor returns just as a blown fuse plunges the apartment into darkness. Guests, unexpected visitors, lurking phone cords and other snares impede his frantic attempts to return the purloined items.
The play is directed by longtime company member Tim Foley, who has directed comedies by Neil Simon and Alan Ayckbourn for Oldcastle, The cast includes Christine Decker, Amanda Garcia, Richard Howe and Peter Langstaff. Jim Staudt is Brindsley the sculptor, trying to navigate the dark with his fiancee Carol, played by Garcia, and his ex-girlfriend, Clea, played by Ana Anderson. Gary Allan Poe is Colonel Melkett, Carol’s father, and Dan Silver is the art buyer. Langstaff plays the next door neighbor whose apartment was ransacked, and Decker is a neighbor who becomes accidentally and hilariously tipsy; and Howe has been sent by the electric company to fix the blown fuse.
Each gets to shine in a gem of role. “This play presents a challenge unlike any other I’ve worked on in a career dating now more than four decades,”according to Gary Allan Poe. “We must convince the audience that they are in complete darkness while at the same time performing on a brightly-lit stage. Like all challenges, meeting its demands is both daunting and extremely rewarding.”
Performances are Wednesday to Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday and Sunday at 2 p.m., with one Saturday matinee on August 5 at 2 p.m. For tickets, visit oldcastletheatre.org or call 802-447-0564.