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Dark of the Moon

There's a pounding, bombastic light-and-sound show of such ferocious intensity that this slender script is obliterated.

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It's odd that a play written in 1943 could be so postmodern, but such is the Howard Richardson/William Berney semi-hit of yesteryear, Dark of the Moon, now at Point Park's Conservatory Theatre.

Here's the deal: There's an old folk song about a woman named Barbara Allen, who is so loved by a Witch Boy that he makes a deal to become human. In the way of these things, it doesn't end happily. Richardson & Berney dramatized that story using the song as a blueprint. So far, so good. However ...

Barbara and Witch Boy actually sing the song in the play ... the script requires that they know a song which outlines their tragic ending. And I just can't wrap my head around that.

I mean, say you're a showgirl named Lola, and you and your boyfriend, Tony, work at a nightclub called Copacabana. And as part of your club act you sing about a showgirl named Lola and her boyfriend Tony and how a guy named Rico ruined their lives. Now say one night that a guy named Rico actually walks into the joint ... wouldn't you be running out the back door instead of encoring the second verse?

But Barbara and Witch Boy keep moving toward their tragic ending ... singing the whole trip.

If nothing else, it's something to chew on while watching the show, which is, really, a slight, wispy sort of thing.

Although I'm not sure that they know that at Point Park. Director Jack Allison and his production team have put on a pounding, bombastic light-and-sound show with such ferocious intensity that this slender script is obliterated. It's not that what they've done isn't loaded with talent. But what it has to do with this pokey little play I couldn't tell you.

Allison does get very strong performances from a first-rate cast, led by Cami Glauser and Jaron Frand as our romantic leads. Everyone is nuance-free, but that's what Allison has aimed for.

Which, ultimately, doesn't work. Dark of the Moon is set in the Smokey Mountains, after all, and not an amphitheatre in ancient Greece.

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