In Eden Prairie High School’s latest play, darkness covers the stage throughout the performance — or at least, that’s what the actors would have you believe.
“Black Comedy,” a play by Peter Shaffer, takes place in an apartment building after a blown fuse extinguishes the lights, which hides the fact that the main character and his fiancee have stolen their neighbor’s furniture to impress her judgmental father. After a few minutes in a dark theater, the stage lights come on, but the characters are still in the dark, leading to the mistaken identities and physical mishaps that give the play its name.
The actors have an impressive two-story set to work with, complete with an upstairs bedroom that one of the characters hides in for a few scenes. With the help of two faculty advisers, the student tech crew built it all themselves, ninth-grader Thomas Kane said.
Compared to the fall musical, “Hairspray,” the play is technically both exciting and challenging. With so many characters lighting matches, candles and flashlights, the lighting cues have to be timed exactly right to show the audience who can see what, and when, Kane explained.
Cat Barrett, a junior, is excited for her role as Clea, a former mistress who returns to her lover’s apartment to “wreak havoc on everybody,” she said. In previous productions, Barrett frequently played maternal characters, and Clea’s chaotic personality is a breath of fresh air.
“I feel like I really love this character, she’s really fun to play,” Barrett said.
Mastering the two-story set was a personal achievement for Barrett, who’s afraid of heights but whose character spends a fair amount of time hiding in the loft above the stage. She conquered her fear by spending time in the lofted set between her scenes to get comfortable being high above the stage, she said.
The eight-person cast will perform “Black Comedy” at 7:30 p.m. on May 3, 4 and 5 in the EPHS Auditorium at 17185 Valley View Road. Tickets, which are $5 for students and $7 for adults, are available at the box office, which opens at 7 p.m. before every performance.