Groping in the Dark

The Play

Subtitled A Visionary Drama, Groping in the Dark is a theatrical parable showing the desires and choices of a very conflicted man, Anthony Saint.

Anthony Saint is an up-and-coming artist - a painter in oils, a traditionalist - married to a devoted wife, Emma. The couple are full of dreams and aspirations, set on social climbing and a comfortable life - yearnings which just might be realised when Anthony lands a commission from a Very Important Person - the governor of the land, Lord Stone.

  EMMA:
  You know, I wished and prayed you’d get it.
Makes such a difference, a regular wage.
Move out of this dump, get us a mortgage.
One of them nice flats down dockside way.

Stone wants Anthony to tutor his tearaway son of seventeen, Keen, in the Art of Painting. Anthony believes he's the man for the job, a man who can install in Keen not just the techniques of image making but also the values of hard work and discipline. But one look at Keen and it's clear that Anthony himself is going to need some reminding about self-discipline. Anthony is gripped by a furious desire for the sexy delinquent! One night after lessons he follows Keen to the darkness at the edge of town, where in a deserted warehouse people are partying and cavorting in ways the like of which Anthony had never dared dream before...

  KEEN:
  Daytime stuck in dull routine which drags my spirit under.
All while begging hours shoot past until it’s time to run to
The space where I can throw that off,
The control yoke, the jacket of
The parents who would keep me locked in
Prison schoolrooms, tied up, boxed in,
Made to stay forever child
Instead of running wild!

These drug and music fuelled orgies are presided over by the licentious figure of Baron Stone, who turns out to be Lord Stone's banished brother, repressed in the governor's but still haunting the outskirts of town.

  STONE:
  He stood in the way of every damned scheme
Or plan for power that I had.
Twisting in my side, this sibling thorn
Was up to dirty things,
Involved in drugs, in perversions, in porn.
All kinds of rot!
The monster did not know where to stop.
Listen hard.
I set aside a place for him to play.
He’d convinced me that wild oats must have their day.
So I framed a section of my world for his domain.
Within six weeks he’d turned his allotted space to a blackened char!
Wrecked the lot!
There is not one piece of worth in his whole soul.
I banished him.
One cannot kill one’s brother, can one? No.
I banished him.
I thought I’d seen his last.
But he is still around the outskirts of the town,
Bringing things down,
Nightclubs of the damned,
Temptation zones he’s built out of
The pit into which he was thrown.
When I find one I close it down.
He just moves on again.

Anthony is dragged into the middle of a life and death struggle between the two estranged brothers. But this is a war which is going on inside of him as well as outside of him, as he serves Stone's purposes by day and sinks into the delights of Sate's world by night, risking his job, his marriage, his sanity and even his very life.

A wild array of phantasmagorical characters morph into view as Anthony journeys to the extremes of his existence: Gitman, the epitome of dirty old men; Scrute, a sneering art critic; Miss Chant, the party girl to end all tomorrow's parties; two egghead social scientists planning structured environments to enforce Stone's control; jaded sensualist Spit, seeking the ultimate thrill; a Bull and a Statue who come to life in dreams which threaten to tear the dreamer in two; and the mysterious figure of the Guru, who has a different perspective on it all…

   GURU:
  The demon has two faces, the pendulum swings
First to the one, then t’other, back again,
And underneath this tock you howl and scream.

Groping in the Dark takes its characters to the ultimate ends of their actions, to catastrophe and death; divorce and disenchantment. After all, Anthony can visualise a life in which the contradictions are resolved but from where he is, is that another vision, another dream?

Casting Requirements
2 f, 5 m (with doubling)