“Wait Until Dark” blinds audience with lackluster show

David Gutman

Saddleback College’s newest show “Wait Until Dark” premiered at the McKinney Theatre last Friday.

The play “Wait Until Dark” is a high suspense play featuring a blind housewife defending herself from home invaders intent on getting what they want.

 

The “Wait Until Dark” was first brought to the stage on Broadway in 1966 and ran for nearly 350 performances before ending it’s run. The original cast featured future Academy Award winner Robert Duvall as the main villain Mr. Roat.

In the years since being closed, the play has enjoyed two Broadway revivals and numerous other revivals for the college stage circuit.

 

The play starts with two con men named Talman and Carlino, played by Raj Upadhyaya and Eric Barnard respectively. The both of them meet Mr. Roat played by Joe Lehr and uncover information that a drug mule in the guise of a doll was hidden in the house. They all come to an agreement to enter the lives of Sam Hendrix and his blind wife Susy, played by Paul Snyder and Riley Moriarty respectively, and con them into revealing where the doll is.

“I thought that the leading actress was amazing, she portrayed what it felt to be nearly helpless when three goons are after you and you have no sight,” said Frank Infante, 22, undeclared.

“Wait Until Dark” is a very famous story that requires tactile acting and believable choreography, unfortunately that was somewhat lacking in the performance.

 

The main lead of the show is the blind housewife, Susy Hendrix played by Moriarty followed by Lehr playing the villainous Mr. Roat.

 

Playing a blind person is one of the hardest things for an actor to do on the stage as it requires advanced acting skills to portray the hardships of someone who is not only blind but has lost sight after an accident. There were moments where it seemed that Moriarty’s character seemed to magically retrieve her sight again, having the ability to run up the stairs without so much as touching a wall to figure out where she is.

 

Another aspect of the show that was done poorly was the portrayal of Sam Hendrix. Snyder plays the main leads husband who is supposed to be a loving figure that protects his wife. During Snyder’s performance, however Mr. Hendrix seemed to be a very unsympathetic character.

For example, during the second scene, Mr. Hendrix is portrayed as teasing his blind wife about where he is and as she is about to hug and kiss him he moves out of the way and snaps his fingers in his wife’s face, antagonizing her.

 

This may be portrayed as a simple loving tease but this writer thought that the character’s actions were very inappropriate to do to a blind person.

 

Lehr was the best part of the show for his portrayal of the scheming Mr. Roat. During the course of the show Lehr had to portray his main character of Roat while Roat also was pretending to be someone else. In a sense it’s somebody playing somebody playing another person all together.

 

Overall Saddleback’s portrayal of “Wait Until Dark” was an ill prepared one. Lines were forgotten and quick improvisations had to be filled in, vases were tipped over that had to be put back in place, and the choreography of a blind person was not enforced enough in my opinion.

 

The show suffered from poor planning and hasty rehearsals. Hopefully after the lackluster first performance they will have improved for their next performances.

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