Groping in the Dark

IN REHEARSAL: Christopher Sylvie plays Nihar, the mysterious youth who is on the run from the King of Shadows in a play by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, presented by Janus Theatre.

Working on a show is not unlike like walking through a maze.

As you set out on your journey, you have an idea about where you want to go. You have a sense about how everything should run, how it should look, how it should feel. Then you take your first steps and before you know it, you are groping in the dark. You look back and you can't see the beginning anymore. You've gone too far. "But I just started," you say. It doesn't matter because this journey is about finding things hidden all around you.

There are clues in rehearsal, clues in the text, clues in the interaction between actors and characters, space and people. Could we just block the show, learn our lines, and then present it in front of an audience? Of course. But that's making the choice to walk around the maze rather than enter inside of it.

We've recently started rehearsals for King of Shadows by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, an intriguing script that has everyone in the cast asking lots of questions. The play opens our 18th season and runs November 6-22, 2015, at the Elgin Art Showcase.

The play is not typical in the sense that it has a bit of the fantastical going on once you get into the story. If you're familiar with Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, then you may remember how Oberon and Titania - two powerful spirits - fought over the possession of a young human boy. By the end of the play, they work out this dilemma and all seems somewhat resolved.

Fast forward, years later we find a graduate student, Jessica, doing research on homeless youth and she comes across a teenager, Nihar, who is sweet, terrified, angry, and seems to have mysterious insight into people's lives. He's on the run, trying to find safety from the King of Shadows, who just happens to be Oberon. You see, Oberon abducts these young children and never sets them free.

So, what we have is a bit of Shakespeare meets Stephen King meets the supernatural It's all very exciting and curious as our cast attempts to answer the questions raised inside the play.

Stay tuned...