LUDS Presents – ‘Darkness There’

The Tab talks to some of the minds behind the Drama Society’s latest play, ‘Darkness There’

Starting this week is the first LUDS play of the season, Darkness There, based loosely on the Edgar Allen Poe poem The Raven, and written and directed by UoL student Joey Spink. The Tab talked with Joey and lead actor Alex Ferguson, about the play, their roles, and LUDS’s future productions.

The Tab: Joey, obviously ‘Darkness There’ is written by you – has LUDS got more plans for student-written productions in the future?

Joey: Scribble is the creative writing part of LUDs. They mainly work on sketch comedy shows and stuff of that variety, their next show is on March 23rd and The Pilgrim Pub and is well worth checking out. For the first time this year also Scribble are hosting a night of short, student written plays. These plays range from 2-30 minutes in length and will differ in genre. It’s a great chance to get people involved in the process of creating a play from scratch and it gives people a chance to work on more plays outside of the main 4.

How does it feel having your own play brought to life in front of you?

It’s a bit insane. To go from the writing process, to the casting process and now to be in show week having rehearsed scenes that I came up with and knowing it’s going to be shown is a bit of a mad process. The first read through, when the words I wrote were heard out loud for the first time by the final cast was a weird thing. It’s great to know that LUDS had the confidence in me to deliver a quality body of work, and I think that seeing original theatre is an option might inspire other people to maybe have a go at it themselves.

Why choose Poe as inspiration for the play? Do you think his work lends itself well to theatrical adaptations?

What I’ve always loved about The Raven is the intense psychological aspects to the poem. You see the man gradually lose patience with the raven figure and get more and more paranoid. The isn’t trust worthy because of his warped view so I wanted to take the themes of the poem and frame it in a way that gave it a completely none biased narration.

Having the play framed in a court scene means that facts are kept as facts and any inner character turmoil is used to further the character, not trick the audience into believing in a false plot. This allows people to really buy into the characters and struggle to decide who their alliance lies with.

A lot of the imagery in The Raven is so striking that it’s made it to the play, their are chunks of the poem spoken by characters. It’s a great testament to just how good a poem it is.

‘Darkness There’ takes inspiration from Poe’s poem ‘The Raven’

The Tab also spoke to Alex Ferguson (no, not that one), who plays the lead character of the Raven in Darkness There.

Alex, tell us a bit about your character.

I play ‘The Raven’, the uncle of Lenore, whom my lust drives me towards! My name is never mentioned, and I am only treated as a dark and twisted soul, the younger and lesser of two brothers. I am a mute, and my only form of communication is with my conscience, Corvus, played by Iona Campbell.

What’s the most challenging obstacle you’ve faced in rehearsing your role?

The process of actually comprehending the thoughts of a such a dark character, getting myself mentally to a place so low whilst still trying to remember lines!

You’re playing the lead role – any nerves?

Yes of course! this is my first ever lead role in anything, I just hope I can keep up the high standard of acting that LUDS maintains.

Darkness There begins on the 27th of February, and runs until the 1st of March. Performances start at 7:30PM, and students only have to pay £4 to see it (£3.50 for English Society members, £3 for LUDS/LUST members). It’s not to be missed.

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