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Vancouver’s social divides highlighted in The Ridiculous Darkness

Based off the popular movie Apocalypse Now and the book Heart of Darkness, the play explores the social issues brought by colonialism in Vancouver

Actors during a performance of The Ridiculous Darkness. Submitted Photo
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Reported by Jennifer Wilson

In the dark comedy The Ridiculous Darkness, Studio 58 alumna Emilie LeClerc asks the audience to confront the isolation and colonialism present in Vancouver.

Originally a German radio play by Wolfram Lotz, The Ridiculous Darkness is a hybrid of the novel Heart of Darkness and the film Apocalypse Now. On Nov. 11, the stage adaptation of the play had its North American premiere in Vancouver. Interwoven with stories of local community groups and the challenges they face, the play follows six characters, including Leclerc, on a journey upriver to find a rogue soldier in the wilderness.

“It forces us, at its very core, to meet people from different communities,” LeClerc said.

Characters throughout the play highlight growing income inequality, the feeling of insignificance experienced by certain people with disabilities as well as the disregard of Indigenous culture in Vancouver.

Encourage Vancouverites make connections

The play’s dramaturg, Veronique West, was born in the city and said Vancouverites tend to make assumptions about the way others live their lives, rather than approaching connection with a sense of curiosity.

“The goal is to bring a bunch of Vancouverites together who normally wouldn’t be in contact,” West said. “To create a piece of art and use that as a way to break down barriers between people with different lived experiences.”

Audience involvement

Audience involvement was a key component throughout the play which LeClerc said made it an act of community by Vancouver, for Vancouver.

“There were a lot of big issues, they did local integration really well,” said Trevor Day, who was an audience member on opening night.

LeClerc said she hopes the play will prompt more curious conversation and convey the idea of life’s journey being more important than the final destination.

The Ridiculous Darkness runs until Nov. 19 at the Orpheum Annex Theatre Vancouver.

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