By Joe Szek
It’s not only the approach of Hallowe’en, ghosts, ghouls and goblins which made us feel scared many years ago as children. Director Marc Siversky from the Scarborough Theatre Guild promises that his seasoned and talented cast for Frederick Knott’s WAIT UNTIL DARK will put audience members on the edge of their seats at that moment when the light goes out, and a peculiar noise is heard outside a window or a door.
Film aficionados and live theatre enthusiasts are aware of the quintessential story line of this dramatic and suspenseful thriller. A blind woman, Susy Hendrix, is tormented by three thugs who believe there is something of immense value hidden in her apartment and they will do anything, at any cost, to find this object. Using only her remaining senses and keeping her wits about her, the play builds to an ultimate confrontation between Susy and her criminal assailants right up to the climactic conclusion under the blackness of the night.
WAIT UNTIL DARK opened on Broadway in 1966 with Lee Remick and Robert Duvall. In 1967, its adaptation to film (#55 on American Film Institute’s list of 100 Years, 100 Thrills) includes a powerhouse cast headed by Audrey Hepburn, Oscar nominated for her performance as Susy. Mr. Siversky believes the film is a good adaptation as it expands the back story, exterior and other scenes from the play that couldn’t be staged otherwise. The film’s direction and performances are solid while Henry Mancini’s musical score, in Mr. Siversky’s words, is just right.
Some in the community theatre circle consider WAIT UNTIL DARK a chestnut while others might find its storyline dated. In a conversation I had with a Theatre Ontario adjudicator many years ago, he spoke of this fifty-year-old script as ‘shlock; good shlock, but shlock.’ Mr. Siversky is not so sure he agrees with the play being called shlock. It has the potential to come off as ‘shlock’ as some of the writing and gimmicks are dated; however, for him, ‘shlock’ is defined as cheap and Mr. Siversky quickly assures this Scarborough production is far from inferior.
Gord Shannon and Siversky’s one room set design has been re-staged and re-adapted which better suits the unique aspect of playing out of the Village Theatre’s three quarter thrust stage, unique to Toronto community theatre. This thrust stage will bring an immediacy of the story action right to the heart of the audience, especially the startling climax of the play.
Additionally, Mr. Siversky always wants to be challenged with scripts of a technical nature and WAIT UNTIL DARK is no exception. For this production, he has spent a great deal of effort to incorporate music and other lighting and visual effects to enhance the overall visual and theatrical experience with the aim to create an entertaining experience for each show.
Let’s not forget the experienced actors who will tell this story for ten performances. Mr. Siversky is very proud of his selected cast. He has had the privilege of working with most of them in previous productions so there is a strong relationship which has already been established. His aim, along with the entire production team, is to keep up the pace and honesty of the performances along with a sensible amount of mood to provide a suspenseful and plausible production. I, for one, am most certainly looking forward to seeing this production opening night.
Performances of Wait Until Dark run October 6 ,7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20 at 8 pm and October 8, 15 and 21 at 2 pm, 2017, at the Scarborough Village Theatre, 3600 Kingston Road, Scarborough. Regular ticket prices, $24, may be purchased either at the door before each performance or call the Box Office at (416) 267-9292. Order online at their website. All performances are recommended for ages 18 and up.
The Cast (in alphabetical order): Ryan Ash, Nicole Burda, Silvina D’Alessandro, Ana Gonzalez, Damien Gulde, Glenn Ottaway, John Palmieri and Kevin Shaver.
Produced by Linda Brent, Staged Managed by Daniel Bell and Directed by Marc Siversky.