Monday, June 12, 2017

My Eyes Went Dark


This drama now at 59e59 Theaters as part of their Brits Off Broadway season is based on an actual event. In the summer of 2002, the wife, son and daughter of Vitaly Kaloyev, an architect from the North Ossetia region of Russia, died in a collision between two airplanes near the German-Swiss border. [Spoilers ahead] Kaloyev was unhinged with grief, became obsessed with the flight controller on duty at the time of the crash and decided to take justice into his own hands. When he returned to Russia, he was treated as a hero. There are only two actors in playwright/director Matthew Wilkinson’s version of the story. Declan Conlon plays the architect, now called Nikolai Koslov. Thusitha Jayasundera plays Koslov’s wife as well as several other roles. This should have been a powerful story, but it failed to engage me for one important reason. The character of Koslov, at least as interpreted by Conlon, is so unremittingly unlikable that it was difficult to be invested in his fate. Furthermore, the story is told out of sequence and is sometimes confusing. Resorting to colored lights and loud noises does not improve the material. Late in the play, it is suggested that Koslov’s rage against the flight controller was caused by displaced guilt. By that point, I no longer cared. Running time: one hour 15 minutes; no intermission.

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