nytheatre.com review by Roger Nasser
August 17, 2009
first dark is a drama that deals with two teenage friends that deal. Drugs, that is. The play takes place during the course of one day. During this day, Digger and Terrence discuss various subjects that range from what happens to people in college to their current situation. Their current situation is a dire one and concerns working both sides of the drug trade—being an informant to Brando, a local cop trying to get the big dealer, and working with other dealers. Ultimately their friendship is tested.
first dark is an interesting play. It is a bit rough to follow at times, and some set changes took a little too long. A scene would be set up, then the action would shift to an earlier part of the day, then the scene would be restored again—it is a bit too choppy. I also felt that it was an odd choice to only change part of the set and leave part of it in place even though they were changing locale. The lighting could have helped compensate for this but it didn't. In between some scenes a rap trio named THC: The Higher Concept performs some raps. I actually would have like more of them—especially during the set changes, which were a bit distracting.
The cast works well at times. Steve Stacy brings a nice charisma to Terrence and is extremely comfortable on stage. Stacy does a great job keeping the show together and has a really great energy. Evan Louison (Digger) had me on the edge of my seat for most of the play, and that was due to the fact that I could hardly hear what he was saying. Louison's style of acting is very subtle and seems more suited for film. He really needs to project more. I also felt that he was not completely comfortable on stage, but who knows—it could have been a character choice. Nick Fondulis has an edge about him that works well for Brando, the cop.
The writing, supplied by Charlotte W. Bence, who also directs, is really good. Bence creates a believable world for these characters to inhabit. I also liked the moments that she gave both Digger and Terrence in their candid monologues. I felt though that the direction could use some fine tuning.
first dark has an interesting plot and interesting characters but can definitely use some tightening that will hopefully come with each performance of it.