Perfectly set in the small studio venue of English Theatre Berlin, the one man play Dark, written and directed by S.D. Clifford, creates an acute sense of intimate seclusion in our minds that scrapes the mental edge claustrophobia.
Terry (Pedro Malacas) is an eccentric and reclusive man facing death and, in going about his daily life, serves as a mirror for society in this sardonic drama, shining a humorous light onto normal parts of life like German bureaucracy and anatomical science books.
Malacas’ melodic and calm voice give his character’s ramblings just the right touch of compassion, while keeping the effect terribly normal, almost mundane. Addressing only his boots or his radio, Terry exemplifies all of our one-person conversations, discussions and debates as a shared wont of civilization, but gives us both humor and a distance from him as well.
Though specifically more focused on an introvert’s inter-workings, anyone can understand Terry’s strife, and the slow build-up of both personal frustration and social disappointments allows the audience to sympathize with his great cry of ‘SHIT!’ It might not be how you’d deal with daily life and death, but he’s still reflecting something in you that’s both humorous and sad.
A dose of patience is necessary, as the piece is a bit slow – it is a one man performance about preparing one’s own state-sanctioned death – but the constant flow of dark humor and examples of the random bullshit in life cater to any social cynic.
Even with its macabre subject matter, the performance keeps a muted comedic air and sidesteps pretentiousness and the overly-bleak “artist sending a message” feel which sometimes plagues small theatre. Though it ends with a bang, the audience is left in a slight state of confusion, still seeking closure.
Dark, Jan 13-14, 20:00 | English Theatre Berlin, Fidicinstraße 40, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Platz Der Luftbrücke