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Take a trip to the ‘Darkside with Red Earth Theatre

Dylan Marshall - top,  (l-r) Tiffany Grimm,  Phil Oberholzer, (middle l-r) Dave Belkiewitz, Terra Shelman, Joan Westmoreland, (front l-r) Sarah Ann Lesslie, Zeke Collins. Photo by Larry Kane

Dylan Marshall - top, (l-r) Tiffany Grimm,  Phil Oberholzer, (middle l-r) Dave Belkiewitz, Terra Shelman, Joan Westmoreland, (front l-r) Sarah Ann Lesslie, Zeke Collins. Photo by Larry Kane

Originally Published: May 7, 2019 12:43 p.m.

Red Earth Theatre presents ‘Darkside’ by renowned English playwright Sir Tom Stoppard, featuring the music of Pink Floyd’s ‘Darkside of the Moon’ to be performed on the fabulous big stage at Old Town Center for the Arts in Cottonwood.

Commissioned by the BBC in 2013 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the iconic ‘70s album ‘Darkside of the Moon’, this philosophical comedy drama radio play is presented on stage by 8 actors in a full performance, on May 10th and 11th at 7.30 p.m. and the 12th at 3 p.m.

The album is played in its entirety, a soundtrack for the play underscoring the themes of conflict, greed and madness, as it pushes the story along. The sound effects, music and songs oscillate from being background to taking front stage, with key passages from “Money”, “Us and Them”, and “Brain Damage” among others taking over the action on stage. Use of projection enhance the fantastical and psychedelic hall marks of the album and this play.

‘Darkside’ tells the story of Emily, a philosophy student who takes part in a series of thought experiments. The play begins with the classic philosophical ethics thought experiment of the train about to run into a crowd of people (The Trolley Problem).

The boy who is sacrificed for the many becomes Emily’s companion on a journey through an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ world of thought experiments meeting various characters along the way. Like ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (to which the ‘Darkside of the Moon’ album has been linked) she meets people who seem to have one role in one life and another in this world of the mind.

Red Earth Theatre is noted for its innovative, energetic approach to theatre and storytelling. Their stage adaption of ‘The Wild Party’ by Joseph Moncure March took a rhyming jazz style poem and performed it with 8 actors and live music. Red Earth develops new work including ‘Morley’, ‘Loplop and The Queen’, ‘Recycling with A Unicorn’ and ‘Traveling Through Shakespeare’ - a unique approach to Shakespeare’s cannon. They have also adapted short stories for the stage such as ‘Pink Nectar Café’ by James Bishop, co-produce the annual Little Black Dress new 10-minute play series and produce favorites such as ‘Steel Magnolias’ and ‘Painting Churches’.

A nomadic theatre group, they perform in a variety of locations creating a ‘theatre’ when necessary and embracing theatres when available. Red Earth also presents live theatre monthly at Tlaquepaque with collages of poetry, prose and music along various themes.

Funny, sharp, relevant and entertaining this Darkside journey through the not-Kansas-anymore of moral philosophy brings to the stage characters such as Ethics Man (also Baggott the Philosophy professor), The Witch Finder (also Dr Antrobus), the Politician and Banker, Fat Man and Wise One. Emily, with the ghostly Boy encouraging her,  is our fearless leader as we search for goodness in a world gone mad.

Actors featured in this production include Sarah Ann Leslie as Emily, Zeke Collins as Boy, with Terra Shelman, Phil Oberholzer, Dylan Reece Marshall, Dave Belkiewitz, Joan Westmoreland and Tiffany Grimm. ‘Darkside’ is directed by Kate Hawkes.

Running for a packed hour, each performance will be followed with an Act 2 featuring the charismatic Anthony Mazella on the guitar, and his take on the Pink Floyd phenomena. Please check the website www.redearththeatre.org for more details. This is a unique opportunity to revisit an old favorite or to meet a classic connected to our current experiences with intellectual wit and musical beauty.

Tickets in advance online at www.showtix4u.com and local outlets

$20 in advance, $22 at the door, $25 priority seating front row. www.redearththeatre.org and www.oldtowncenter.org

Phone 928-399-0997 or email info@redearththeatre.org