This collection of vignettes is performed entirely in the dark. No, really upon arrival, you'll notice a solitary candle burning at stage center, which after the preshow announcements is blown out, plunging us into 90 minutes of inky darkness, only very occasionally alleviated by a momentary flash or murky ghost light. Lord help you if you have claustrophobia! If not, however, the collection of one-act sketches is an unexpectedly vivid series of ghost stories, radio-style dramas and other mysterious theatrical episodes that emphasize virtually all senses but sight. Incidents range in tone from Anna Nicholas' macabre "Our Dark Connection," in which seemingly random members of the audience are dragged out of their seats and into the black by an unseen monster, to Friedrich Durrenmatt's compellingly disturbing "The Tunnel," a narrated tale of a man who discovers he's on a train to oblivion (both are directed with maximum eeriness by Ron Sossi). "One of the Lost" is Ernest Kearney's spooky tale of the ghostly final transmission of a Russian cosmonaut on a secret space mission. John Zalewski's sound design is incredibly evocative and Sossi and his co-directors artfully manipulate all the senses within the live performance to craft a set of dramas that utilize darkness almost as a character. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd, W.L.A. In rep with More Dark (Evening Two) , through Dec. 16. Call or check website for schedule. (310) 477-2055, odysseytheatre.com.
--By Paul Birchall
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Like its sister show Dark, More Dark, the second half of the Odyssey's Theatre in the Dark festival, represents truth in advertising. Save for the odd ghostly hospital monitor or the emergence of one pale, glowing blue eye, this collection of 15 short, moody vignettes offers up nearly 90 minutes of theater in the dark, laced with an immersive soundtrack of things to go bump in the night. Clever, deftly choreographed and technically impressive, the production efficiently transports its audience as far afield as the drizzly London of a randy radio play ("Forbidden Fire") or a fairy-laden British forest (an excerpt from A Midsummer Night's Dream), but the true setting of many of its episodes is the liminal space between consciousness and unconsciousness, life and death, or sanity's thin border, a strange netherworld well calibrated for unleashing the imagination. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd, W.L.A.; Wed. & Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. (in rep, call for schedule); through Dec. 16. (310) 477-2055, odysseytheatre.com.
--By Mindy Farabee
Thursdays-Sundays; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Oct. 20. Continues through Feb. 9, 2012