Premiere play

Dalliance Theatre Company begins their first season with Black Comedy

Though engaged, Bindsley spends quality time with his ex-girlfriend Clea in Black Comedy.
Though engaged, Bindsley spends quality time with his ex-girlfriend Clea in Black Comedy.
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Dalliance Theatre Company’s inaugural production, Peter Shaffer’s Black Comedy, is playful and enchanting.

Brindsley Miller, played by John Gallant is the typical starving artist. A rich benefactor is coming to view his work and his fiancée’s father is visiting. But the master fuse blows, leaving characters in darkness.

The use of reverse lighting is off-putting in the best way. When the lights are on in Brindsley’s apartment, the audience is in complete darkness. During the blackout, lights shine on the audience. The darkness is a bit disorientating at first.

Daniela Cerrone’s promiscuous character Clea aptly says the apartment is “like a magic dark room where everything goes wrong.” For Black Comedy nearly everything seems to go right. The lighting and sound cues are perfect and the humour resonates with the audience.

Director Alexsandra Marzocca said staging the play was a challenge, but it’s one of the most important elements. It’s well-choreographed — especially when Gallant’s character has to remove and replace furniture in the dark.

Each actor develops their own British accent that’s natural and unique to their character.

Richard Stefano plays, Brindsley’s “monster” future father-in-law, Colonel Melkett. Stefano captures the commanding presence his role demands. The Colonel’s exasperation with Brindsley is well done and both actors played off each other well during the Colonel’s interrogations.

It’s the darkness that reveals the character’s true personalities and relationships. Brindsley’s small apartment is an intimate setting. It’s almost as if the audience is an uninvited guest — like many characters in the play.

Marzocca’s decision to set Dalliance’s production of Black Comedy in the 1920s rather than the 1960s, was a good choice. This era of indulgence is the perfect setting.

Black Comedy plays today and tomorrow at 8 p.m. with an additional 5 p.m. show on Saturday at Vogt Studios in Carruthers Hall. Tickets are $10.

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