The Light Inside
nytheatre.com review by John Jordan
March 9, 2007
The sexual abuse of a child is so incredibly destructive to that child, not only physically, but mentally. Those effects will most likely, in one form or another, last the child's lifetime. I am neither a doctor nor a qualified counselor; however, I stand strongly behind my beliefs on this subject, just as a human being. Lindsay Wolf seems to agree with me and cleverly brings to the stage the heart-wrenching story of Lily in NO TIME FOR LOVE's production of The Light Inside.
We see Lily during three stages of her life: as a young girl, probably around five; as a young woman about 17; and as an old woman, ageless.
Lily, when just a young girl, is sexually abused by her male cousin. She loses trust in everyone and must go to therapy to come to terms with what has happened. Lily is very frightened and needs time to trust her therapist enough to admit what happened to her. Thankfully, she does.
As a young woman still in therapy, we see that Lily has grown into a very sheltered person. She does not have many friends and definitely does not like boys. She is not even comfortable around her own father. But there is one boy who does seem to interest her. He keeps trying to dance with her, but she keeps running away. With time and some caring words from her therapist, she takes a chance and continues that dance.
Later in life, we see that Lily has matured into a fun-loving, laughing, reminiscing, story-telling, spunky old woman, with a very caring old husband. At closer look though, and seeing the play in its entirety, with the direction beautifully intact, writing sequences in their proper order, old Lily is not necessarily the happy woman we think she is. She is a bit lost in her memory. She has hidden away the bad memories and is desperately trying not to lose the good ones. She is trying desperately to keep the light on inside.
Wolf needs to be truly commended, not only for writing such a tight script, but also for both wearing the director's hat and starring as Lily. I feel the real star of this production is the direction. The way the actors and characters move from scene to scene, from past to future to present and back again, it is a visual delight.
Assistant director Corey Ann Haydu deserves at least half of the kudos for the direction, as Wolf would have to be on stage busying herself with the dynamic performance she gives as Lily. Steven Todd Smith portrays Young Man/Old Man. His character acting is spot on. I was a bit skeptical at first when I saw a couple of twentysomethings playing older folk, but they did a fine job. Molly O'Neal is also first-rate as The Voice, representing the compassionate therapists in Lily's life.
The set and prop designs by Amanda Jane Haley were simplistically perfect for the space and the play.