Dark Road, UIL performance places


Yessmeen Moharram

(Left to right) Junior Emily Bulloch, senior Alexa Sananikone, junior Marisa Mendoza, seniors Ben Glassman and Andrew Sheffield in Plano Theatres Dark Road

Khara Ekes, Opinion/Layout Editor

    The UIL competition performance of Dark Road by the Plano Theatre on March 15 had audiences cringing in their seats due to the harsh reality and emotions portrayed by the actors, earning it fourth place overall and first place for best technical crew.

    This show was set shortly after World War II and is about a female Nazi prison guard Greta, played by junior Emily Bulloch, and her experiences while she worked at the concentration camp. After being sentenced to death, Greta is approached by a journalist named Daimler, played by senior Tanner Lewis, and asked to tell the story of her time as a camp guard.

    The plotline was intriguing, but it was also quite grim and encompassed a wide variety of acting styles. While Bulloch had to bring out her inner monster on stage as Greta, senior Rachel Katz played Greta’s sister, Lise, a girl completely against what her sister was doing to the people she was in charge of guarding.

    Katz was one of the most dynamic actors on stage. She showed true outrage at Greta’s actions while also managing to seem like a youthful, innocent woman for the duration of the show.

    Lewis’s role as Daimler was another impactful role. Due to Lewis’s execution of the character, it was obvious to audiences that his character was put off by Greta’s story and wanted to find the reason behind her choices as a guard at the camp. Whenever Greta hesitated, it was up to Daimler to push her to continue. Because of his role, Lewis was on stage for the entire show, prompting Greta to continue with her story. While his stage presence was powerful when he spoke, Lewis was able to minimize his importance when the audience needed to focus on another actor. Lewis was able to portray a type of raw emotion throughout the play that many actors struggle to emote during their career.

    Even though Bulloch’s character was the main focus of this play, she was not the most impactful. Greta was a hardened guard that embraced the darkness that her path led her into while losing a part of her soul in the process of bettering her country. While Bulloch was able to embrace the terror that her character was supposed to invoke, many of her movements and facial expressions seemed forced at times.

    The most noteworthy part of the performance, in addition to the acting itself, was the technical work. The lighting always hit the intended mark and was executed on cue. The set was beautifully built, and the makeup done on the actors, especially an open wound on one of the camp prisoners, was phenomenal.

    While all of this was a high point of the production, there were also some things that were worth criticizing. The blocking throughout the play seemed forced and sometimes unnecessary. There were times where Bulloch or Lewis would walk forward and then during the next line, they would turn around and storm back to their original place so that they could slam their hands on the table.

    The beatings and slaps on stage also seemed very forced. More often than not, it was easy to tell that the beatings were faked due to either the timing of the reactions or the force that an actor put into the action. Furthermore, despite that fact that the slaps were real, the audience could tell that the actors were uncomfortable with the action.

    Despite some obvious bumps along the way, Dark Road was an extremely noteworthy show. The actors put hours worth of emotion into a 40 minute performance, and the director was able to cut the script in a way that still allowed the audience to easily follow the story.