by Nanette Soucy
In this adaptation of a native tale, we see the Bat, resentful of his alienation from both the Winged and the Legged, trigger a territorial war between the worlds of the Birds in the air, and the creatures that walk on the earth. It takes about 30 minutes into this hour-long show to determine that this is the crux of the story. Besought by excessive flourish and too much effort put into making the script sound like a legend, the audience is left to wade through a quickly-delivered unfortunate abundance of adjectives and third-person pronouns in order to really grasp what’s going on. Where the writing reaches for abundance of poetry, it falls short of elegance to tie itself together. But what it lacks in textual clarity, Wings of Darkness makes up for in visual beauty. Simple costumes, consisting mostly of re-purposed sporting equipment and gaffe-tape, are accented by beautifully expressive masks, also inspired by the world of sports, made from altered baseball caps. With stunning and subtle projections as background, and fitting musical cues underscoring, this diverse cast tells its tale simply and clearly, despite the script. Interactions between characters on both sides of the conflict, in particular the rather diplomatic Squirrel befriending the Eagle and the Blue Jay, balance the impressively choreographed scenes of violence and war with their warmth and playfulness.