My Eyes Went Dark
Weak script is almost rescued by brilliant performances
This article is from 2016.
Despite two remarkable performances from Cal MacAninch and Thusitha Jayasundera, My Eyes Went Dark is a disappointingly narrative-driven ramble through the story of a man inspired to murder through the loss of his family.
The minimal set – made essential by the script's relentless changes of scene and location – gives plenty of space for MacAninch to display his acting chops, and he is sinister, pathetic and moving by turn. Thusitha Jayasundera jumps between multiple roles and accents with aplomb, and the duo conjure a few moments of intensity.
Yet the structure of the play (it simply follows the man's life, from disaster, through frustration at the legal system, to murder to prison and beyond) and the inevitable callback to the beginning in the final scene, betrays a lack of theatricality in the writing. Moments of tension, including a plane-crash and a killing, are squandered by the rapid flow of the storytelling.
Undeniably, both actors are superb, and all the more impressive for the weakness of the writing. Few of Jayasundera's characters are developed beyond caricatures, and even MacAninich's role lacks definition. There are questions about moral responsibility and racial identity lurking, but these are lost in the rush.
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