Everyone has a story of what happened the night the lights went out.
Some are uneventful … and others are downright hilarious.
“Black Comedy’ is one of the latter.
The play, being produced by Nothing On Productions Oct. 3-6 at the Barbara Barrett Theatre in the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre, is described as a farce that is played out in the dark.
“It showcases what actually happens when the lights are out, and everyone is home,’’ director Janet O’Reilly said.
“The actors are on stage when a power outage occurs. We can see them as the stage is lit, but they can’t see us. The comedy of what happens next is what makes this play so funny,’’ she added.
“Black Comedy” is a farce that is played in the dark, with the lights full on. It’s the Chinese convention of reversing light and dark, and exactly where anybody is at any given moment is the play.
The play centres on a struggling sculptor Brindsley Miller and his fiancée, Carol Melkett, who are hosting a party with the aim of impressing Carol’s bombastic father, Colonel Melkett, and millionaire Georg Bamberger. They hope the two men might purchase some of Brindsley's sculptures.
To help impress both men, the couple borrow furniture from their fussy neighbor, Harold, to make their own flat more presentable.
Just before the guests arrive, the main fuse blows, plunging the apartment into darkness.
The chaos that ensues; with unexpected visitors, mistaken identities and a host of surprises make for a disastrous and hilarious evening.
Things go horribly wrong for Brindsley when the lights go out, leaving him helpless as characters arrive, one by one.
First is Brindsley’s elderly neighbour, Miss Furnival. Colonel Melkett, unimpressed by the blackout, arrives, and Brindsley’s worst nightmare comes true as Harold returns early, and Brindsley tries desperately to return the furniture without Harold noticing.
“This play is full of physical comedy, which is what we love,” producer Kathrine Elliott said.
“Things like watching the furniture being taken away and replaced — all in the dark — seeing a character get carried away on the sofa and another having a chair pulled out from under them is funny,’’ she added.
O’Reilly and Elliott said their Nothing On Productions partner Jill Kennedy was in a production of “Black Comedy” a number of years ago and when they sat and discussed the play, all three knew this production was, as they described, “right in our wheel house.”
While it is not as big a show as their previous one (“Noises Off”), they said it is equally as funny and well done.
They credit this to the level of actors that continue to audition and win parts in their productions.
This cast is no exception and O’Reilly said they have come in, are working hard in rehearsals, for next to nothing, and are excited to present the show to the public.
“This great ensemble of actors is literally giving the audience a sitcom on stage,” O’Reilly said.
“It is a one-act play that runs an hour and 15 minutes. It promises to be hilarious,” she added.
Directed by Janet O’Reilly, produced by Katherine Elliott and the stage manager is Ashley Ring.
The cast includes Zachary Cross, Sabrina Roberts, Michael Nolan, Tim Murray, Elizabeth Hicks, Nichole Woodman, Andrew Halliday and Chris Panting.
Tickets are available at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre Box Office. Call 709-729-3900 or go online to https://artsandculturecentre.com/stjohns/online/ .
“Black Comedy” is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.