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Silver Spring Stage Wait Until Dark

By • Nov 2nd, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Wait Until Dark by Frederick Knott
Silver Spring Stage
Woodmoor Shopping Center, Silver Spring, MD
Through November 20th
2:10 with one intermission
$20/$18 Seniors and Juniors
Reviewed October 30th, 2010

Wait Until Dark is a drama in two acts by Frederick Knott. It reveals the adventures of an insecure blind woman who has to reach deep within herself to find her security as she handles a dangerous situation as several con men try to take advantage of her.

Although much of the suspense was removed because we have seen this show performed previously at a different theater, there were still some intense moments. The blind woman Susy Hendrix was played by Michelle Johncock. I felt that Johncock should have shown more insecurity at the start of the show so we could see a greater change in her by the end. In the second act when she began to put two and two together and realized what was truly going on, her change needed to be more dramatic. An interesting note was that Johncock kept her eyes closed for a good bit of the show, but was successful at portraying a blind woman.

Thomas L. McGrath played Mike Talman, a con man posing as a friend of Susy’s husband. McGrath had to change gears frequently as he played both a crook and a friend to Susy. These conflicting roles McGrath handled deftly, never forgetting his final objective was to get what he wanted from Susy. Harry Roat (both Jr. and Sr.) gave a believable performance as the villain running things. Eric. S. Stein as Roat was great at voice impersonations and his costume changes were complete. He came across as cagey and slithery like a snake. His scenes, especially the ones with no lights, were quite scary. One incongruous point was the final moments of the play, he kept his sunglasses on while in the darkened room.

The set design and properties for Wait Until Dark were detailed and mostly appropriate for the 1960’s. The Set Designer was Jack Butler; and the Properties and Set Decorator was Rebecca Proch. The one exception to the appropriate set was the Venetian blinds on the window over the kitchen sink. Mini-blinds weren’t available until the late 1970s. I also think that Gloria should have had a broom with a longer handle so she could reach what Susy asked her to do.

(Warning, possible spoilers in this paragraph). The lighting is also very important in this show. Andrew Nicholson’s lighting was well done, although it would have been a nice touch if the darkroom lamp had really lit up instead of being lit with an overhead theatrical lamp fixture. Also, there is a point near the end of the show where lighting plays a huge role in the scene, and the stage lights came on really low. I think it would have increased the tension if the stage lights had remained off and there was only one light source on stage.

If you’ve never seen Wait Until Dark before, you’ll find Silver Spring Stage’s production an edge of your seat thriller.

Director’s Note

Happy Halloween! Okay, I know for any of you who are seeing this show after opening weekend, Halloween is over, but I’m wishing you a creepy one anyway. There’s good reason why this show opens Halloween weekend-because it includes the best parts of Halloween. Thrills, chills, dressing up in costumes, pretending to be somebody you’re not, and of course the excitement and tension as night falls and the witching hour draws near… as you wait until dark.

I’ve loved this show for a very long time. I first saw – and worked peripherally on – a production of it when I was 16, my first summer of professional theatre. I found the show so intense, and twisty, and creepy. Many years later, I got to see another production, with my own father playing the role of Harry Roat. I had almost forgotten over the intervening years what a great, taut, thrilling little show it is. And now, I get to direct it as my first experience at the Stage.

This show is about light and darkness, about color and shadow. But it is also about perception, and reality. Our heroine, Susy, is blind. She cannot see; you, the audience, can. But can you trust what you see…or what you hear? Can you believe it? What is real, what is false? What’s true, and what’s a lie? How much more do you — with your sight — *really* know about what is going on than Susy does without hers? And when darkness finally comes, is it possible that you’ll then see even less than she does? If any of that makes you nervous….that’s good. That’s what a thriller is all about.

I want to thank the Stage for giving me the opportunity to begin my association with them by directing a show of which I have been a fan for so long. I also want to thank my wonderful cast, crew, and production staff who have been incredibly hard-working and nothing less than a joy to work with. You all make me proud. Most of all I want to thank my partner, Rebecca, for her unwavering and never-ending belief and support over the years. I wouldn’t be writing this Director’s Note right now, if it weren’t for her.

Finally, of course, I want to thank all of you, for coming out and letting us (hopefully) creep you out and put you on the edges of your seats for a couple of hours. For letting us be a part of your Halloween thrills, even after Halloween has passed.

Have a good time. Things are about to get interesting, just you wait….

Sean Butler, Director

Cast

  • Mike Talman: Thomas L. McGrath
  • Sergeant Carlino: Greg Crowe
  • Harry Roat, Jr.: Eric C. Stein
  • Susy Hendrix: Michelle Johncock
  • Sam Hendrix: Michael Fisher
  • Policemen: Denis Roma & Michael J. Galizia
  • Gloria: Leah Snow (Oct. 29-Nov 14); Brianna Lattanzio (Nov 19 & 20)

Crew

  • Producer: Marcia Kolko
  • Director: Sean Butler
  • Assistant Director: Lizzi Albert
  • Stage Managers: Toni Goldberg, Nicole Jaja
  • Technical Director: Bill Strein
  • Set Designer: Jack Butler
  • Master Carpenter: Joshua Engel
  • Set Painter: Rebecca Proch
  • Set Construction & Painting Assistants: Robin Covington, Jackie Demarest, Don Lee, David Linsday, Tom McGrath, Mary Seng
  • Properties and Set Decoration: Rebecca Proch
  • Lighting Designer: Andrew Nicholson
  • Assisted by: Zach Dunkin
  • Sound Designer: Sean Butler
  • Light and Sound Operators: Seth Ghitelman, Toni Goldberg, Nicole Jaja
  • Costumer: Rebecca Proch
  • Make-up & Hair Designer: The Cast
  • Photographer: Harvey Levine
  • Playbill: Leta Hall
  • Program Cover Design: Craig Allen Mummey
  • Subscription Brochure: Craig Allen Mummey
  • Artistic Liaison: Craig Allen Mummey
  • Hospitality: Marcia Kolko, Kathie Mack

Disclaimer: Silver Spring Stage provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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