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Review: A Father Consumed by Grief in ‘My Eyes Went Dark’


Declan Conlon in “My Eyes Went Dark.”

Carol Rosegg

On July 2, 2002, a passenger jet collided in midair with a cargo plane over Germany, killing 71 people. It was a mistake caused by technical issues and a slow response from the sole air traffic controller. Stricken by grief, Vitaly Kaloyev, a Russian architect who lost his family in the crash, sought revenge and ultimately got it.

Balancing loss and revenge — it’s a story worthy of the most memorable of characters, from Medea to Inigo Montoya. In “My Eyes Went Dark,” at 59E59 Theaters, the writer-director Matthew Wilkinson takes Mr. Kaloyev’s life and creates a drama that ultimately feels more like a true-crime movie of the week.

Mr. Kaloyev finds his fictionalized counterpart in Nikolai Koslov, a man whose operatic despair becomes sublimated and bottlenecked into a quest for revenge.

The staging, from the crystal-clear sound design to the dynamic flash-and-fade lighting, effectively guides the play through hopscotching shifts in setting and time. Too often, however, the script jumps face first into scenes, then flounders as the exposition-laden dialogue tries to pick up the slack.

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