THE DARK AGES
The seed of this comparatively quiet tale (which might be my own favourite of my plays) was planted one night at the cottage after everyone else had gone to sleep when my father-in-law, who’d worked all his life as a geologist, told me how much he’d always wanted to be a writer and how hard he’d tried as a university student to make that happen. And my own father, though he was never encouraged by the more hard-scrabble exigencies of his own youth to ever entertain such occupational fancies, had at least as much innate ability to manipulate language in interesting ways as I ever had. Carl Jung once postulated a theory that each generation, to some extent at least, is psychologically driven to live out their parents’ unlived lives and I had both of my fathers perched on my shoulders as I spun out this story of a son in law who throws over his sensible job as a teacher to take one last run at the literary life. When we finally got this play onto the boards in 1995, it was dedicated to William Lawrence Jarvis (1917-92). - Herman Goodden
“Herman Goodden is serious about writing, even when his material is funny. At the heart of all his work is a love of language, an acute understanding of the human condition, and a desire to write for performance. Most of his writing is seldom lifted off the printed page when he does his day job as a journalist but the material he writes for performance is crafted by a man with a fine ear for the spoken word. This is particularly true of his longer speeches where the words get some room to run.”
- Ric Wellwood, Scene
The Dark Ages was first produced at the McManus Studio of London’s Grand Theatre April 17 to 29, 1995, under the direction of John Gerry with Rick Verette stage manager and Karen Crichton lighting designer, with Henry Booker as Walter Sparling, Mary Ann Gibbons as Helen Sparling, David Wasse as Scott Bedford and Julia Webb as Carol Sparling.