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Courtesy Shawn Carpenter

Wait Until Dark for Vertigo Theatre’s latest

By Rachel Woodward, January 17 2017 —

For most people, a night out at the theatre is a relaxing time, where participating as an audience member is limited to watching a story that might make you laugh or shed a tear. But when was the last time you sat at the theatre feeling genuine fear as you watch a thrilling and terrifying narrative unfold before you? Director Simon Mallett hopes that you feel this at Vertigo Theatre’s production of Wait Until Dark, playing from Jan. 21 – Feb. 19.

The story was originally written by Frederick Knott and performed on Broadway in 1966. In 1967, Terence Young directed a feature film based on the play starring Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin. The narrative follows a newly blind woman who discovers that con men are coming into her home in search of something.

Mallett says that this isn’t the first time Vertigo Theatre has worked with the thriller. The company produced the play 10 years ago and Jeffrey Hatcher adapted the play to alter the setting in 2013. This time around, under Mallett’s direction, Hatcher’s adaptation takes place in the 1940s.

“It just helps to enhance some of the themes of the play in terms of the role of the female protagonist and what her domestic standing would have been especially as a newly-blind woman,” Mallett says. “It also brings in some elements of the end of World War II and what that meant to the men who were around and weren’t at war. There’s some added benefit to the changing of time and a few other smaller tweaks and changes from the original in order to enhance the character dynamics during the play.”

The Vertigo team worked to keep anticipation and horror accessible to the audience without using “movie magic.” Mallett says that some theatre conventions allow
for the unique stylings of a classic thriller.

“There’s a lot to be said for being able to create really palpable tension and fear in something that is in our lives in performance. Horror films have the benefit of a lot of gore and special effects that are used to manipulate the audience’s imagination. I think there’s something to be said for being able to create that kind of fear in a live environment,” he says. “That’s a fascinating experience to have as an audience member — being genuinely scared in a theatre space.”

Wait Until Dark is showing at Vertigo Theatre From Jan 21 to Feb. 19. Tickets are available online.

For more information, visit vertigotheatre.com

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