What do you get when you cross the classic novel Heart of Darkness and the Oscar-winning film Apocalypse Now – and throw it on a stage? A large-scale adaptation of the German radio play, Ridiculous Darkness presented by Alley Theatre from November 11-19 at the ANNEX. If you’re looking for something hilarious and bold, grab your tickets now because they are going fast!
This is the story of a Somali man seeking understanding after being charged with piracy – but whose case is soon interrupted by the story of two western soldiers entering a foreign (to them) land. They’ve been ordered to retrieve a fellow officer who has gone rogue and killed two of his own comrades. But on their journey ‘down the rabbit hole’, various people and local communities encounter them, and the story becomes an earnest – albeit hilarious – exploration of how difficult, yet vital, it is to understand each other.
Directed by Marisa Emma Smith and Nyla Carpentier, The Ridiculous Darkness is produced by Alley Theatre in partnership with Neworld Theatre, and with the participation of Theatre Terrific, Tetsu Taiko, Richmond Youth Honour Choir, Downtown East Side Street Market Society, Street Vendors Collective, Afghan Benevolent Association of BC, Realwheels Theatre, and the East Van Powwow Crew. Thirty percent of all ticket revenue will go directly to these participant organizations.
We had a chance to catch up with cast member, Munish Sharma, to talk about this enormous collaboration of several groups creating a cast of 40 people! Sharma shared his excitement at being part of this “intriguing comedy, an extravaganza” of “different styles of storytelling” with conversation around colonialism and representation. Despite what could be some heavy topics, Sharma noted that the play is actually “a very comedic, fun show” and that the audience is guaranteed to laugh.
When asked how he saw The Ridiculous Darkness playing a role in the conversation around present-day racial tension and reconciliation, Sharma responded, “This is one of the first shows that I have seen where they have taken a lot of effort and are very aware of making sure there is proper representation of voices. It really feels like a world play; somebody is taking the time to be inclusive. And have a fun time [while making] a statement…”
Aside from taking in the creative and hilarious storyline, Sharma encourages the community to come and participate in the incredible experience of a performance in the ANNEX – “a beautiful venue…we’re using every aspect of that place that we can just for audiences to come and see the celebration.” With a cast of 40, this is a major production that is sure to thrill theatre-lovers and novices to this art form, alike. And as Sharma mentioned, it’s a way to prove that we can all co-exist beautifully.
Here’s what some critics are saying:
“A masterpiece … In the globalized world of today, The Ridiculous Darkness sheds light on the end point of international politics, the end point of understanding the other and the different. It sheds light on the world beyond anything Europe finds known and imaginable. And yet, it sheds equally strong light on the lack of understanding for our neighbour.”
– Margarete Affenzeller, Der Standard
“It is precisely what the title promises: It’s dark, and it’s ridiculous. And very worth seeing. ”
– Eva Maria Magel: FAZ
Grab your tickets and mark your calendars because opening day is soon and tickets won’t last long!