Potomac playmakers stage thriller 'Wait Until Dark'
Ashley Hall can cross playing Susy Hendrix off her bucket list.
Hall is making her debut with The Potomac Playmakers as the lead female role in “Wait Until Dark,” but she has many performing-arts credits to her name, many of them in local productions.
Director Greg Berezuk said the role of Susy is complex, requiring an actress to convincingly play a character who is blind and displays a range of emotions — from fawning expressions of love for a newlywed husband to a mix of cunning and stark terror.
Those who attend The Potomac Playmakers’ third show of the 2018-19 season will see how Susy fights for her life against three hardened, murderous criminals in the Frederick Knott thriller.
The show will be performed at 8 p.m. Fridays, Feb. 1 and 8; Saturdays, Feb. 2 and 9; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, at The Women’s Club, 31 S. Prospect St. in downtown Hagerstown.
Tickets cost $15, and are available at the door and at www.potomacplaymakers.org.
The show also features an even younger veteran performer, Jillian Dugan, who plays Gloria. The 11-year-old has more than five years of experience in musical and dramatic theater.
The play tells the story of Susy, who was recently blinded in a car accident. The action takes place in the New York basement apartment she shares with her husband, Sam, a photographer.
A group of murderous thugs believes that Sam and Susy possess a doll that contains valuable contraband smuggled from Canada. With the help of Gloria, who lives upstairs, Susy must try to outsmart the criminals in order to save her life.
Produced with permission from Dramatists Play Service and funded in part with a grant from the Washington County Arts Council, “Wait Until Dark” is being directed by Berezuk with Brittany Elbourn. This is the third mainstage play Berezuk has directed for the Playmakers, with whom he has performed in several productions.
Elbourn is in her third stint as stage manager for the Playmakers in “Wait Until Dark,” for which she is also assistant director.
Rounding out the cast are Tom Doty, Brian Jones, Adam Martens, Maverick McKee, Kevin Richardson and Jake Smith.
Doty’s most recent appearance with the Playmakers was in “Harvey.” In the current show, he plays the archvillain Mr. Roat, a character who has been described as a “steaming pile of evil,” much different than Doty, who is gentle by nature.
As part of the con being pulled, Doty also plays a doddering old man and the rather hapless son of the old man, with a few minutes of Italian restaurant owner thrown in for good measure, Berezuk said.
Martens plays Mike, McKee is Carlino and Richardson is Susy’s husband, Sam Smith and Jones have been cast as policemen and are also assisting with backstage duties.
“A play like ‘Wait Until Dark’ is a rather ambitious undertaking for any community theater,” Berezuk wrote in an email. “The production is demanding from both a technical and artistic standpoint. The technical component requires innovative lighting design, as well as a compact and very functional set design and construction.”
Top photo: Ashley Hall, as Susy Hendrix, clutches a doll that thugs believe contains valuable contraband. (Submitted photo)