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The Dark

“Richly textured elegy for uganda”

Pieced together from what author and poet Nick Makoha describes as fragments of “memory and imagination,” The Dark is a richly textured exploration of the fine line between escape and exile.

Based on events from his childhood, during which his mother smuggled him out of Idi Amin’s Uganda on an overnight bus, the story unfolds as a series of sketches, jumping around in time and bouncing, often chaotically, between the perspectives of various characters.

Taking on several roles apiece, performers Michael Balogun and Akiya Henry spend much of the show swivelling on the spot, switching rapidly between personas. Some are vividly realised. Henry’s pregnant street vendor is a forceful presence, impassioned but jaded by the state of her nation. Balogun nails the loose-limbed, wide-eyed mannerisms of Makoha as a child.

Director Roy Alexander Weise moves things along at a quick pace, letting tension develop naturally between skits, but allowing it to dissipate during the script’s occasional bursts of heightened, imagistic language.

Rajha Shakiry’s design makes the most out of the space, incorporating bus seats, a cluttered writing desk, and a patch of sparse turf emerging from dusty ochre earth. An overburdened luggage rack sways overhead, creating the impression of constant movement. It’s set off by a moody lighting design from Neill Brinkworth, contrasting focused backlights with dull, ruddy ambience. In the play’s closing moments, as Makoha arrives at British immigration control, he emerges from the familiar semi-darkness to be scrutinised beneath the harsh, unwelcoming glare of halogens.


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Production Details
Production nameThe Dark
StartsNovember 21, 2018
EndsDecember 1, 2018
Running time1hr 20mins
AuthorNick Makoha
DirectorRoy Alexander Weise
Set designerRajha Shakiry
Lighting designerNeill Brinkworth
Sound designerDuramaney Kamara
CastAkiya Henry, Michael Balogun
Stage managerTanya Stephenson
ProducerFuel, Ovalhouse
VerdictEvocative, if inelegant, autobiographical elegy for 1970s Uganda
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Dave Fargnoli

Dave Fargnoli

Dave Fargnoli

Dave Fargnoli

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