Welcome witches and warlocks,
I had the great pleasure of attending Fallen Saints: Dark by Force of Nature Productions and figured I would offer up some thoughts for my fellow theater enthusiasts. To best describe the story, I will use my own plot summary:
Meet Dark, a being who is with us nearly every step of our life. She reveals our deepest fears and gloats as she shows us how our fear evolves.
We begin with a chance meeting. Or, at least, we think it was merely chance. But wait, I am getting ahead of myself.
It starts with a young girl. She is innocent, soft-spoken, and she beckons us to join her in exploring her grandmother’s attic. We follow along willingly, entering into an attic chock full of family pictures and treasures.
Upon further inspection, there is something foreboding about this place. The pictures themselves have all been scratched up, torn, or drawn upon so that they barely resemble people anymore. The trinkets scattered about are old or disfigured and there is something creepy about each one.
As we take all this in, the girl beckons us into a second room, a secret place, and brings us to our seats for the show.
Once we have all taken our places, the lights go out and a voice begins to speak to us from the shadows. She tells us how she has always been with us, watching us, and then a baby’s bassinet appears on the stage. Our narrator, now revealed to be Dark, lords over the infant like an animal watching its prey. She does not seek to kill the child, more to observe it in its innocence while seeking out ways to make her presence known in its life.
We the audience follow this infant through childhood right up until old age, seeing how Dark has intertwined herself in its life. Even more chilling, we see how the fears a person has evolve from being scared of a monster being under the bed to the idea that we are just a cog in a wheel of a corporate entity. They touch upon so many deep fears that I do not want to give away their impact, but I will say that the entire second act is sure to really hit a lot of adults hard.
The set is plain, it is a simple black box theater, but the sound design more than makes up the difference. The world feels full thanks to simple things like a baby’s cry being enmeshed with some truly creepy music or audio editing. These cues really brought home the unsettling feeling they were striving for and made a lasting impression long after the final scene.
In addition to some brilliant audio design, the actors also fleshed things out wonderfully. Since the cast was so small, each member had to play more than one role during the proceedings. This led to some people starting off playing an over the top character in one scene, only to have their next appearance be a more nuanced role that allowed them to show off their more serious acting chops.
All in all, this was a gut-wrenching exploration of fears that is sure to hit a nerve for many audience members. The use of sound and the excellent cast are so seamless that it really gives a lot of weight to the heavy ideas being explored. Fans of theater or those who are interested in a show that explores modern day fears should definitely give this a look.
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