Alley Theatre, in partnership with Neworld Theatre, is getting set to present the North American premiere of a large-scale stage adaptation of The Ridiculous Darkness
Based on the multi-award-winning German radio play by Wolfram Lotz, The Ridiculous Darkness is a satirical, modern mash-up of the classic novel Heart of Darkness and the Oscar-winning film Apocalypse Now.
The Ridiculous Darkness is the story of a Somali man, charged with piracy. His case is soon interrupted though by two western soldiers entering a foreign land, and ordered to retrieve a fellow officer who has gone rogue. As the two soldiers set out on their journey there encounters with the communities along the way set-up an earnest, yet hilarious, exploration of how difficult, yet vital, it is to understand each other.
Nothing in small measures with The Ridiculous Darkness, the production will include participation from a large number of community groups. Included among them are Theatre Terrific, Tetsu Taiko, Richmond Youth Honour Choir, Downtown East Side Street Market Society, Downtown East Side Vendors Collective, Afghan Benevolent Association of BC, Realwheels Theatre, and the East Van Powwow Crew.
In return for their participation, thirty percent of all ticket revenue will go directly back to these organizations.
“I think as artists, as people, we need to be reminded of the value of looking beyond our own noses,” says co-director Marisa Emma Smith. “And with this project, we’re definitely looking beyond in a lot of different directions.”
For co-director Nyla Carpentier it was the play’s scale that first attracted her, but she also points to the satire within.
“What attracted me to this play was first, how cool and epic it is,” adds Carpentier. “And second, how its humour allows us to really look at ourselves, the flaws and the odd policies we create. It’s a ridiculous time in the world. Makes sense to put on a play that reflects the issues as well as bring people together.”
Adapted by Alley Theatre’s Daniel Arnold, the idea for this type of show came from a production in New York co-created and performed by a variety of professional actors, community members, and performance groups.
“It was such a powerful and transformative experience that we wanted to make a similar creation with and for our own city,” says Arnold. “An exploration of how to connect across boundaries of difference. When we read this hilarious and weird German text, we knew this was the play to do that with.”
Vancouver Presents was live inside the rehearsal room with the company of The Ridiculous Darkness to find out more.
The Ridiculous Darkness plays The Annex (823 Seymour St, Vancouver) November 11-19. Visit http://alleytheatre.ca for tickets and information.