Theatre in the Dark Shines On

The title says it all: Plays presented in pitch-darkness are the theme.

It's revealing that we have to be reminded, either via a self-help book or acting coach or television program, that there is worth in focusing on some or one of our senses while letting others fall momentarily to the background.

We're asked to do this in wine-tasting classes (focus: smell). And we're asked to do this in listening booths and concerts (focus: hearing).

But forgoing a sense, and awakening the brain in the process, is not a daily, or even monthly, activity for most. It's an intriguing notion, however, and a theater troupe is exploring just this concept via Theatre in the Dark.

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Here's the spoiler about that title, which really isn't a spoiler at all: It's theater that's in the dark.

As in, total darkness. "(T)he audience is intimately confronted by actors" while "sound and spatial perspectives" shift. And lest you think there may be a shaft of light flooding in from somewhere, the words "COMPLETE DARKNESS" appear several times on the play's site.

It's been a bit of a sensation everywhere it has played, a tidbit that's further bolstered by the fact that it has been extended. It runs at the Odyssey Theatre on Sepulveda through Saturday, Feb. 9.

Call it an interesting alternative to all the holiday fare currently out there. Call it an unusual way to play with your senses.

And, yes, LA has now experienced dining under darkness and a Halloween-month haunted house that was held in pitch-blackness. Theatre in the Dark, though, is a new angle on something that is a bit frightening for some but quite compelling and even a little mysterious for many others.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, Theatre in the Dark is 90 minutes. That seems like a perfect length of time in which to be bold and try out something new. Not too long, but long enough to feel immersed in an unusual experience.

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