Light Sensitive
Reviewed by David Kashimba

Playhouse West's production, Light Sensitive, is a comic and touching story of how easy it is to become isolated in a big city like New York. Although the theme could apply to any city, there is a distinctive east coast self-sacrificing tone in this drama. Holding color to a minimum in set and costume design also helps transport us to the Near East where overcast skies cast gray shadows.

Tom, played by Dared Wright, was a New York City cab driver until an accident rendered him blind for life. This trauma leads Tom to a life of isolation in his small apartment. His only companions are alcohol and his best friend Lou played by Raffi Kondy. There is a lot of guy humor in this play especially when Lou tells his friend that heís taking a college course to meet women. The more educated the woman the less she expects a man to pay for on a date, Lou tells Tom sagely.

Lou visits frequently and tries to help his friend out, but Tomís apartment is a mess and thereís little or no food in his refrigerator. When Lou meets a woman and decides to move to Vermont with her, he seeks the help of Lighthouse for the Blind.

When a woman volunteer arrives to help Tom, all hell breaks out, and Tom resists with every drunken fiber of his being. But itís in this resistance and Ednaís stubborn refusal to go away that renders some of the best comedy in this play.

Edna, played by director Lois Grandi, is another story of isolation. She has devoted her life to taking care of elderly members of her family. First it was her grandparents and when they died, she started caring for her aging father. Sheís no great looker and has a slight muscular disability in her left arm and leg.

But in time Edna has a positive influence on Tom, as does Tom on Edna. What makes this production entertaining, uplifting and full of laughs is excellent acting by the entire cast. We watch all the subtle nuances of change echo in their facial expression and movements and we are drawn into their world. We care about these people, and when we see them slowly evolve and take risks to end their isolation, something inside us cheers them on.

For tickets to this excellent production of Light Sensitive, written by Jim Geoghan, call (925) 942-0300.

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