Pink Floyd’s magus opus, The Dark Side Of The Moon, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Exploring the themes of conflict, greed, the passage of time, and mental illness, the album has become one of the most revered in the history of rock. In honor of the album’s milestone, BBC Radio 2 has produced a radio play by Tony and Academy Award-winning playwright Tom Stoppard. Entitled Dark Side, the play airs tonight on BBC Radio.
BBC NEWS writes: “‘Dark Side’ is a fantastical and psychedelic story based on themes from the seminal album and stars a stellar cast which includes Bill Nighy, Rufus Sewell, and Adrian Scarborough. The lead roles will be played by Olivier Award-winning Iwan Rheon (Misfits) and stage actress Amaka Okafor (The Garbage King). A long-term fan of Pink Floyd, Academy Award-winner Sir Tom Stoppard has been inspired by the challenge of giving the audience an experience worthy of ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’’s name. He was first approached with the suggestion of writing a play based on the album by a friend in 1973. Now, 40 years later, he has created an hour-long audio drama incorporating music from the album and a gripping story that takes listeners on a journey through their imaginations. Sir Tom Stoppard says: ‘This is more or less, I think, the first time anything like this has been done on radio. [I thought] Yes I definitely want to do that but had no idea for a long time what I would do. Finally, I found some time and sat down and listened to the album for the thousandth time and picked up from the beginning and kept going.” Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour says: “I have read the script of Tom’s radio play ‘Dark Side’ and found it fascinating. I can’t wait to hear it come to life with the great cast performing it and our music woven into it. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’’s 40 year anniversary.”
As a visual accompaniment to the BBC Radio 2 production of Dark Side, the ingenious team at Aardman Animations (the creative wizards behind Wallace And Gromit) have created a stunning video for the play. Inspired by the surreal imagery and experimental music that permeates the original album, the video uses a range of CGI, studio-based effects, as well as hand-crafted elements. Aardman Animation’s Darren Dubicki directed the video and in a recent interview said: “The intensely surreal and powerful artwork created [for the Pink Floyd album] by Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis has always had a strong distortion on reality. Their sense of space and twisted context make for some uncomfortably beautiful art. This tone has been consistent for decades and we wanted to honor this with our contemporary digital (and analogue) slant on the style.”
To learn more about BBC Radio 2’s Dark Side be sure to visit BBC.co.uk. Dark Side airs tonight on BBC Radio 2 at 10pm GMT. The entire play will be available online soon as well. And if you’re jonesing for more Pink Floyd visual amazingness you can always watch the album set to the 1939 classic The Wizard Of Oz below to tide you over.
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