Local Stage Coach Players don’t ‘Wait Until Dark’

By Sarah Contreras

The latest production from The Stage Coach Players hit the stage Thursday, and it promises just the right amount of intrigue and excitement for your cold fall nights.

Frederick Knott’s 1966 play, Wait Until Dark, is a suspense about a blind housewife named Susy who finds herself terrorized by three strange men. The men search for a doll that has been filled with heroin; little does Susy know, her husband has mistakenly transported the doll across the Canadian border and into their apartment. Susy must rely on her instincts, the help of a neighbor girl, Gloria, and the cover of darkness to outwit the dangerous strangers and protect her life.

The Players’ production of Wait Until Dark will mark the end of their summer season, following lively productions of works such as A Streetcar Named Desire and Play It Again, Sam. Jennifer Snow, director of Wait Until Dark, said the last show of a season comes with one very specific challenge: casting changes. The Stage Coach casts all of its plays in the month of March, so come October, Snow had to make last-minute changes due to changes of heart and commitment.

But it’s all good, Snow said.

“There is always that initial panic when you need to replace someone,” Snow said. “But the cast right now has worked so hard, and they are doing such an amazing job. Now they are just ready to have an audience in front of them.”

But actor Shela Lahey is in for a challenge. Very few plays feature main characters with sensory disabilities. Though it is easy for an actor to feign paralysis or a broken arm, pretending to be blind is quite a doozy.

“Working with a sighted person who’s trying to act blind is certainly a challenge,” Snow said. “Though the woman who’s playing Susy [Shela Lahey] – her father is actually recently blind, so she has that experience. And my assistant director [Jim Doherty] grew up with an uncle who was blind. So we have some experience in the crew who can show Shela how to act blind without hurting herself on the stage.”

Wait Until Dark is both exciting and at times, scary. Most productions of the play feature a plunge into complete darkness in the final scene. This, coupled with menacing “bad men,” makes the play an obvious choice for an October production. However, the underlying theme of the play knows no seasonal bounds.

“I definitely think that the overall theme of the show is not to underestimate someone based on their ability to see or their knowledge of a situation,” Snow said. Stage Coach Players’ Wait Until Dark runs Oct. 14 through 16 and Oct. 21 through 23.