Hope can be a light out of the darkness — but in the new musical, “The Lost Light,” that’s no treacly metaphor.
In writer Jackie Danziger’s play, actors carry around light emitting jars that glow stronger as their character’s become filled with hope — a key plot element that visibly demonstrates on stage what can only be felt in life.
“We wanted a physical embodiment of this kind of very intangible idea,” said producer Reed Whitney. “We wanted to give our visual designers a play that they could really sink their teeth into.”
The glowing jars serve a plotline that explores the nature of hope.
The child-friendly play, which bows at Sharkmother Theater on Dec. 1, centers on a village devasted by drought. The villagers are invited to a land of ever-lasting contentment — but on the condition that they give up their hopes and dreams.
Only one villager — a little kid named Penny — resists the Faustian bargain, and begins a quest to restore optimism in the land.
First-time composer Benjamin Bernstein’s score is anything but standard musical theater, thanks to his background in jazz and experimental music.
“I approached this project with two different idioms in mind, that the musical be centered around jazz and also American Minimalism,” said Bernstein, referring to composer Philip Glass’s preferred idiom.
The play might be off-beat, but its message is right on point.
“It gives a message that hope isn’t something that’s given to you,” said Whitney, “it’s something you have to work for.”
“The Lost Light” at Center for Performance Research [361 Manhattan Ave. between Jackson and Withers streets in Williamsburg, (718) 349-1210], Dec.1–4. Tickets, $12 ($8 for children). For info, visit www.sharkmother.org.Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cn