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In the Dark 

click to enlarge Laurel Cassillo, Brian Louis Hoffman, and Joel Leffert perform in Peter Shaffer’s “Black Comedy” at the Shadowland Theater in Ellenville through August 10.
  • Laurel Cassillo, Brian Louis Hoffman, and Joel Leffert perform in Peter Shaffer’s “Black Comedy” at the Shadowland Theater in Ellenville through August 10.

The theatrical conceit of Peter Shaffer's one-act farce "Black Comedy" (originally performed in 1965) is one of the most clever of the modern theater. Set during an electrical outage, the play begins with the stage and house lights down, but the cast acting as if the lights were on. Almost immediately, a "fuse blows" offstage and the stage lights come up. The actors are now playing as if they were in the dark. They stumble and stagger into the furniture and each other for the remainder of the play as Brindsley (played by Brian Louis Hoffman), the ne'er-do-well everyman, does his level best to keep his fiancee, mistress, would-be father-in-law, and various others from bringing to light his complex array of lies and schemes.

"Black Comedy," by Peter Shaffer and directed by Brian Burke, will be performed at the Shadowland Theater, 157 Canal Street, Ellenville, through August 10. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm. Sundays at 2pm. (845) 647-5511; www.shadowlandtheatre.org.

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