Black Comedy is a one-act farce by Peter Shaffer, first performed in 1965.
The play is written to be staged under a reversed lighting scheme: the play opens on a darkened stage. A few minutes into the show there is a short circuit, and the stage is illuminated to reveal the characters in a “blackout.” On the few occasions when matches, lighters, or torches are lit, the lights grow dimmer. The title of the play is a pun.
Brindsley Miller, a young sculptor, and his debutante fiancée Carol Melkett have borrowed some expensive, antique furniture from his neighbor Harold’s flat without his permission in order to impress an elderly millionaire art collector coming to view Brindsley’s work, and Carol’s father Colonel Melkett. When the power fails, Harold returns early, and Brindsley’s ex-mistress Clea shows up unexpectedly, things slide into disaster for him.
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