The visual mind and the Milky Way combine to create the claustrophobic world of a man suffering from a dreadful and cruel condition in Sound&Fury’s Going Dark. Written by Hattie Naylor and Tom Espiner, and directed by Mark Espiner and Dan Jones, this striking piece of theatre explores the sheer strength of the human spirit and the vastness of the universe to create a truly unforgettable show.
When the astronomer Max (John MacKay) is diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a disease that will gradually rob him of his sight, he must prepare his family, including his parents, and his young son for what will happen in the future. But his work, his life and his identity are set to be tested, as the realities of his condition force him to make some difficult decisions.
Although Going Dark initially feels a little confusing, as a number of seemingly very different scenes and snippets appear to have no connection to each other, Naylor’s play soon unveils itself to be a thoughtful and thoroughly fascinating piece of theatre that brings the audience back to earth with an almighty bump. A treat for the senses from the very beginning, thanks to Ales Valasek’s inspired design, Going Dark uses light, complete darkness, impressive effects and a highly emotional subject to deal with a very difficult, and really very frightening prospect. The idea of losing your sight, the thought of losing yourself in a dark and lonely world, where everything, even your own home, can become a very unfamiliar and dangerous place is a fear that is both universal and very real.
Battling issues of disability, loss, parenthood, fear and passion throughout, this play looks at sight, identity and responsibility in a different, and frankly refreshing way, while raising awareness of Retinitis Pigmentosa, and the realities of going blind. While the play did allude to a number of symptoms of the condition, such as hallucinations, this one-man show did, at points, gloss over some parts of Max’s journey, and left a few questions unanswered. However, both the Espiner’s, Jones and Naylor have created a unique, united and visually stunning show that is not only challenging, but also thought provoking, and ultimately utterly human. A true celebration of triumph over adversity and victory over heartbreak, Going Dark is a play that needs to be seen, heard, and most of all, experienced by people of all ages.
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