"Ladies and gentlemen, back by popular demand...The Lads!" -- A line from Return Engagement
As an actor and writer, I've had the good fortune to work with many great theater companies. One of the most rewarding has been Darknight Productions. They're not the biggest or the most glamorous, but they have a passion for their craft that is truly inspiring.
My good friend Thomas Patrick Clancy had the idea to put on shows in Manhattan during the "dark nights" of local companies, believing that those empty theaters when no main stage productions were being performed were golden opportunities for actors and writers to workshop their own dream projects and fine tune their craft before live audiences.
So in 2002, Darknight was born. Together with his brother Kevin, Tom gathered talented actors and writers and started producing cutting edge entertainment -- staged readings, monologue nights, and most importantly, full productions of original content, at intimate spaces like the Ground Floor Theater in Greenwich Village and Blackbird Studio in Midtown's Where Eagles Dare to larger venues like the East Side's Jan Hus Playhouse and the West Side's Irish Arts Center.
As Tom and Kevin explain in their mission statement, Darknight Productions was founded "to provide writers, actors, and directors with an environment in which to explore bold, provocative issues and themes. The company has created a symbiotic relationship with theaters and other companies in New York (such as Red Monkey Theater Group, Center Stage Playhouse, Runaway Theater Company, Level 92 Films) enabling us to present powerful original works in short runs."
Even though Darknight has presented some wonderful revivals, its greatest achievement is the number of original stories it has managed to bring to life on the stage. From one act plays dealing with thought-provoking issues, such as the anthologies Forced Perspective, Social Insecurity, and Triple Play, to full-length plays like Damaged Goods and Hopes and Dreams, the group has created some exciting comedy and drama.
They've provided chances for local actors, writers, directors, producers, and technicians to hone their craft, to network with peers, and to fine-tune individual projects. From staged readings of works like Kevin Clancy's Great Depression and my own Dream Fragments to the popular What I Always Wanted to Do series of monologues, scenes, and songs, Darknight Productions has enabled people with a dream and a passion to make their vision a reality.
What started out with only two chairs and a stage has grown into a group of artists sharing their creative talent with loyal and enthusiastic audiences. Click here to see a video of Return Engagement, just one example of the fine stories that Darknight Productions has brought to the stage. In June, Darknight will present a Shakespeare-themed version of What I Always Wanted to Do. Email me if you want more information for that and other performances.