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CCRI Players' season begins with suspenseful 'Wait Until Dark'

Oct. 11, 2013

Jessica Stills as Susy Jessica Stills as Susy, blinded in an accident, meets con man Roat, played by Steven Zailskis, in the thriller “Wait Until Dark,” which CCRI Players will stage Oct. 17 to 20.

The Community College of Rhode Island Players will open their 2013-14 season with Frederick Knott’s masterfully constructed thriller “Wait Until Dark” Oct. 17 to 20 in the Bobby Hackett Theater at the Knight Campus, 400 East Ave., Warwick.

The play raises the question: Which frightens us more, the evil you can see coming or the one you can’t? This hold-your-breath shocker is set in the 1960s in the Greenwich Village apartment of Susy Hendrix, an unsuspecting woman recently blinded in a car accident. Her husband, Sam, is conned into inadvertently smuggling a doll full of heroin across the Canadian border. Roat, a sinister, cool-as-ice con man, and ex-convicts Mike and Carlino have traced the doll to the Hendrix home and hatch an elaborate scheme to fool Susy into giving it to them. But the dangerous and illegal prize seems to be missing.

When the strange woman who duped Sam into transporting the doll is murdered, Roat and his henchmen convince Susy that the police have implicated Sam in the woman’s murder, and the doll, which she believes is the key to his innocence, is evidence. She refuses to reveal its location and, with the help of Gloria, a young neighbor, figures out she is the victim of a bizarre charade. But when Roat eliminates his associates, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues between the two. Susy knows the only way to play fair is by her rules, so when darkness falls she turns off all the lights, leaving both of them to maneuver in the dark until the game ends.

Performances times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 17 to 19, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20. The audience will be invited to remain for post-show discussions about various aspects of the play following the Thursday and Friday night performances. Discussion leaders will be Assistant Professor Mark England of the CCRI Criminal Justice Department on Thursday and Grace Pires, president of the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind, on Friday.

“Wait Until Dark” opened on Broadway in February 1966 starring Lee Remick, followed by a two-year London run starring Honor Blackman. Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin and Richard Crenna starred in the film version. In an effort to duplicate the suspense on screen, movie theaters dimmed their lights to their legal limits, then turned them off one by one until each on-screen light was shattered, resulting in the theater being plunged into complete darkness.

CCRI’s production of “Wait Until Dark” is directed by Assistant Professor Luke J. Sutherland, who also has designed the set. Costume design is by Professor Jeffrey A. Butterworth, with lighting design by student Branigan Duguay of Warwick, sound design by student Kaisey Caputo of Johnston and technical direction by Justin Carroll. Students Lauren Ferreira of Cranston and Erin Archer of Providence are the stage manager and assistant director, respectively. Dean College Assistant Professor Jim Beauregard is the fight director.

Members of the student cast are: Jessica Still of North Kingstown as Susy; Steven Zailskis of Cumberland as Roat; Adam Florio of Coventry as Sam; Andrew Conley of Johnston as Carlino; Matthew C. Parker of West Warwick as Mike; Haley Pine of Barrington as Gloria; Yunus Quddus of Pawtucket as Patrolman 1; and Nicholas Simonin of North Providence as Patrolman 2.

Reserved-seat tickets cost $12 for the general public and $10 for students, senior citizens and children. Telephone reservations may be made by phone at 401-825-2219 any time or by email.

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Last Updated: 8/25/16