With support from City Living, Local Life the Dalgarno Trust held their fantastic community play for 2015, Into the Dark Zone. Starring local Dalgarno residents, directed by the Dalgarno Centre’s Tara Kennedy and written by Robert Silver the play was performed at the Centre on February 25 & 26 2015. But that’s enough from us. Robert Silver has kindly wrote a piece on Into the Dark Zone and his experiences in creating a community play:

My play Into the Dark Zone, which ran as an intergenerational community play for two nights at the Dalgarno Trust Centre, is a mix of cautionary tale and Sci-Fi comedy. I was approached by the Trust’s Project Development Manager, Tara Kennedy, with the idea of writing a play about the dangers of too much online gaming. That sounded good to me. I’m a writer. I like stories. So I liked the idea of a story about children who abandoned stories.

IntoTheDarkZone1The story line is simple. A man, Mr Piper, hangs around the school gates and offers the children free games software before persuading the head teacher to allow him to give out his games to the school children in return for money and a better car. The children are delighted. But when they get locked into the games Dark Zone and start suffering from Bread Pudding Brains (BPB) the mothers are livid. The children are rescued by a story-loving squad of two book reading children and a teacher, with a librarian acting as ground control, to bring them back, using a mixture of stories and jokes. The corrupt head resigns, the good deputy takes over, Mr Piper is threatened with work in a library. Stories win the day.

IntoTheDarkZone2As for my story up on stage: the curious thing about writing plays is that somehow, once you hand a script over to the performers it stops being yours. I guess it’s like a chef handing over a recipe. If the new cook is any good he will take ownership of it and make it his own, do it his way. So I can say  with a clear conscience that sitting in the audience on the first night I really enjoyed it.

The Dalgarno Trust’s cast of local children and adults, directed by Tara Kennedy, had entered into the spirit of the piece, taken ownership and made it their own. They proved yet again that our communities are full of energy and creativity and talent, just waiting to be tapped.

As for whether those children should be playing on-line games? Of course they should. Computer games are part of their world, their culture. Just so long as we don’t forget that here in our terrestrial spaces stories are being told, in cinemas, theatres and, of course, in books. And so long as we don’t let them get lost out there in cyberspace.

Robert S Silver (www.robertssilver.com)

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