EXCERPTS FROM THE FEATURE
The following are excerpts from the September 2, 2016 Baltimore Sun feature on Wait Until Dark, when the Sun's Fine Arts critic, Tim Smith, sat down with Director Donald Hicken, Resident Company Members Megan Anderson and Bruce R. Nelson, and Founding Artistic Director Vincent M. Lancisi to discuss the surprises, the history and the excitement behind Everyman's season opener.
ON THE FILM
People of a certain age might still get a chill at the mention of the 1967 film "Wait Until Dark."
It earned Audrey Hepburn an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Susan, a blind woman caught up in nefarious business. When con men arrive at Susan's Greenwich Village flat to retrieve something she has no knowledge of, the resulting battle of wits and nerves is capped with one heck of a visual shock — it routinely turns up on lists of all-time scariest movie scenes.
The film was based on a play by Frederick ("Dial M for Murder") Knott that ran on Broadway 50 years ago. In 2013, Jeffrey Hatcher adapted the play, tweaking various details, and it's his revised "Wait Until Dark" that will open Everyman Theatre's season this week.
ON THE SURPRISES
Like any thriller, the play requires surprise. As can be gleaned from the title, it also calls for darkness. It's not too much of a spoiler to note that the terrified Susan eventually uses her disability to her advantage, forcing any would-be tormentor to experience her sightless world — and, for good measure, forcing the audience to do so, too.
"It's always fun to play the evil guy," [Bruce Randolph] Nelson says. "I like making a mess of things."
ON AVOIDING THE STEREOTYPE
In Susan, "Wait Until Dark" has a central character at once able and disabled.
"What's clever about the play is that it avoids the stereotype of another screaming woman who is the victim of a horror story," Hicken says. "The audience is supportive right away because of this."
"What I love about Susan is her sensitivity and resourcefulness," Anderson says. "She is terrified, but the play gives her an opportunity to be very strong."