From the author’s note from the original production: Colours in the Dark might best be called a play box. Why?
I happen to have a play box and it’s filled with not only toys and school relics, but also deedboxes, ancestral coffin plates?in short, a whole life. When you sort through the play box you eventually see your whole life?as well as all of life?things like Sunday School albums which show Elijah being fed by ravens, St. Stephen being stoned. The theatrical experience in front of you now is designed to give you that mosaic?that all-things-happening-at-the-same-time-galaxy-higgledy-piggledy feeling that rummaging through a play box can give you. But underneath the juxtaposition of coffin plate with baby rattle with Royal Family Scrapbook with Big Little Book with pictures of King Billy and Hitler, there is the backbone of a person growing up, leaving home, going to big cities, getting rather mixed up and then not coming home again, but making home and identity come to him wherever he is. The kids at the very end of the play manage to get their lightning rod up and attract the thunder that alone can wake the dead. Or, on the other six hands, as Buddha says, there are any number of other interpretations that fit the mosaic we’re (director, writer, actors, kids, designers, composer) giving you?
About the author
James Reaney was born on a farm in South Easthope near Stratford, Ontario in 1926. He has won the Governor General's Award three times for his poetry, though he is perhaps better-known as a playwright, especially for his landmark Donnelly trilogy (1974-75). Reaney's theatrical adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice Through the Looking-Glass returned to the stage at Stratford in the summer of 1996.
His work includes: The Red Heart, poems, 1949; A Suit of Nettles, poems, 1958; Twelve Letters to a Small Town, poems, 1962; The Killdeer & Other Plays, drama, 1962; Colours in the Dark, drama, 1969; Collected Poems, 1972; Listen to the Wind, drama, 1972; The Donnellys, a trilogy of plays, 1974-75; Baldoon (with C.H. Gervais), 1976; The Boy With an R in His Hand, young adult, 1980; Take the Big Picture, young adult, 1986; Alice Through the Looking-Glass, stage adaptation, 1994. James Reaney died in 2008.
Other titles by James Reaney
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The Voyageur Modern Canadian Literature 5-Book Bundle
The Silence on the Shore / Combat Journal for Place d'Armes / The Donnellys / In This Poem I Am / Canadian Exploration Literature
A Suit of Nettles
The Essential James Reaney
Reaney Days in the West Room
Librettos for Operas and Other Musical Works