Review reprinted from “The Oklahoman”… Hope you can make the show.
Theater review: Oklahoma City’s Carpenter Square Theatre explores alien life in ‘Dark Matters’
Published: October 21, 2011
There is a fine line between the threat and possible promises of outer space aliens and the alienation of affections and bad communications of a Virginia family in Carpenter Square Theatre’s latest offering.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s “Dark Matters” was given an uneven performance, yet one that held the audience’s interest. Brent Weber as Michael Cleary got across, heavy-handedly, the inability of a writer and milk deliveryman to understand his librarian wife, whose disappearance may be related to the book she’s writing about aliens.
Mike Newton gave a naive yet sympathetic performance as his teenage son, Jeremy, who is just beginning to try drink and drugs and is more open to the stars but caught in the middle between his parents on Earth.
Doug Carlton was at times halting but had good stage presence as the local sheriff who gets frustrated by the family’s resistance to his efforts to fathom the wife’s disappearance and reappearance.
TooToo Cirlot gave a subtle, nuanced and provocative performance as the mysteriously missing wife, Bridget, who comes home just before intermission. Empathetic and only a little bit spacey, Cirlot portrayed Bridget as a free spirit who has felt a strange kinship to aliens since childhood but wants to save her marriage and isn’t ready to sacrifice her son to their plans.
Her abrupt return also enriches the family drama, especially in relation to Michael, who not only doesn’t understand Bridget, but thinks she may have shape-shifted and become an alien rather than the woman he married.
Raising more issues than it resolves, the production, directed by Courtney DiBello, does make spectators think about the possibility of alien visitors from planets revolving around stars in the night sky.
This is especially true of its intentionally vague, open-ended final scene, in which the stars suddenly seem to shine through the sheltering but confining walls of the family’s home in the mountains of Virginia.
Frustrating but enjoyable and intriguing, Carpenter Square’s “Dark Matters” is a work in progress, with a lot of things that could be improved or expanded — like the universe itself. But occasionally it did succeed in conjuring a feeling like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” and that alone was worth the price of admission.
— John Brandenburg