Light Waves Dark Skies follows a couple who tragically lost their son in a boating accident. They are trying to move away, not just from the memory of their lost son, but away from the place that took him. However, the memories and stories of their loss pull them back to that place, giving them closure after many a year in pain. The play was produced by Matt Ball, who was the former National Theatre Wales Creative Associate (2011-13) and Camden People’s Theatre Artistic Director (2006-2011).
The gripping plot pulled me in and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire show. However, that magical feeling was lost at certain points as I became disoriented as a result of the switch from past to present tense. The switch was not always made clear and detracted from the flow of the performance. However, some loose ends were finally tied up and I got straight back into it.
The acting was very professional and performed to an extremely high standard – all characters were brought to life and the audience were able to relate and emotionally invest in them. The character that stood out the most to me was Gwawr Loader who played a journalist and friend of the family. There was a lot of friction between the characters onstage and her betrayal of the character by Gwawr clearly showed her apologetic nature towards the couple.
The set was minimalistic with only a tent, part of a ship and a table and chairs occupying the stage. The minimalistic staging was subtle but powerful and very effective as it ensured the audience’s attention remained focused on the acting and plot. The use of projections in the show also highly complimented the performance, by mirroring and enhancing the moods, tones, and atmospheres created in the narrative.
The main message of the story was to tell us not to hold on to the past and to allow ourselves peace and closure after a loved one dies. They wanted us to learn from the characters’ mistakes and enjoy life and not break relationships with other loved ones.
The pace of the performance was just right as it was fast enough to keep the audience entertained and captured, but not too fast that we were completely lost and uncertain of what was going on. The actors received a standing ovation at the end as the entire audience thoroughly enjoyed the performance.
The performance was gripping and all the actors performed superbly, however as mentioned previously, making the change between past and present tense more explicit would help to deliver the intricate narrative. It was still a very well-acted, directed and produced production and I would definitely see it again.