Written by Steve Tesich
Directed by William Alderson
"The Speed of Darkness" is a play about lies.
The lies we tell ourselves, the lies we tell those we love and the lies we project that sculpt the person we wish that we could be.
Set in South Dakota, the story revolves around Joe, a Vietnam vet and successful local businessman and his wife and teenage daughter. Their life seems simple enough. Joe runs the business, his wife Anne and daughter Mary have a good life. But as Mary prepares to go off to college, they all sense a shift in their world. Lou arrives one day out of the blue, a war buddy of Joe, a sweet and broken traveller and one-time co-worker of Joe, in the days long before his success and the just days after the war.
The play is slightly twisted in time. Beginning at the very end, with the testimony of Eddie, Mary’s former boyfriend, giving only the barest of information about what is to come. Just the hint of death, without any clue as to whose it may be.
So with that impending ‘doom’ hanging over the story as it unfolds, we are never quite sure where to look, which is a fascinating way to tell a story really. It makes one study every line more, watch carefully for any hint of a clue and, as everyone unravels, as they must do, we sit a little stiller as we hold our breath.
Without giving too much away I can tell you that this play takes a few turns that you might not expect. People reveal themselves, truths are finally and painfully told and the results are not at all traditional or predictable.
"The Speed of Darkness" is a complicated story with a small but vivid cast of characters, each with their own particular agenda. The roles are interesting, and far from cookie cutter. The women are strong, they have purpose and resolve and come off far better than the men, which is good and real and timely.
The cast is superb, each seem deeply connected to their roles and you can tell how much work has gone into the production, but not because of the obvious signs of labor, because of the lightness of effect. They ‘are’ their parts. And the phenomenal result of that is genuinely brilliant performances, a fascinating and heartbreaking study of a family clouded in deceit and ultimately set free from it.
"The Speed of Darkness" is an excellent play, beautifully acted and poignantly directed…it’s well worth seeing and I highly recommend it. But it’s not a long run so don’t dawdle!!
Running through March 18 Friday, Saturday & Sunday at 8pm
River Street Theatre Co, 1103 N El Centro Ave, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Directed by William Alderson
Produced by William Alderson & Art Hall
Set Design by Zack Guiler
Lighting Design by Jeffrey Porter
Costume Design by Jo Amari
Sound Design by Peter Carlstedt
Music Composed by Rob Milburn
Additional Music by Matteo Clark
Stunt Coordination by Brian Foyster
Eddie Kehler as Joe
Janet Chamberlain as Anne
Sara Molinar as Mary
Kenny Johnston as Lou
Leo Ramsey as Eddie
**Understudy Performances: March 2, 3, and 4**