MARSHALL – Tackling a character that was made famous by Audrey Hepburn is hard enough. Taking on a role where the character is blind also presents a challenge, says one of the actors in the upcoming production of the Marshall Area Stage Company.
The Marshall Area Stage Company is presenting the play “Wait Until Dark” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Marshall-Lyon County Library community room. The show is being directed by Maureen Keimig.
“Wait Until Dark” is a dark suspenseful thriller written by Frederick Knott. Susy Hendrix, a blind housewife, finds herself the target of three con men looking for heroin hidden in a doll that her husband Sam unknowingly transported from Canada. The play was also made into a movie in 1967, starring Hepburn as Susy.
Keimig just rewatched the movie version of “Wait Until Dark” last weekend.
“It’s more of a challenge to do the stage play than the movie,” Keimig said. “In the movie, it can cut to different scenes. We have to use a lot of our imagination watching the stage play.”
Portraying a blind character has been intriguing, said Em Woodrow, who is cast as Susy.
“As an actor I like to connect with people, meeting eye-to-eye,” Woodrow said. “With Susy, I can’t. Trying to make those connections is a little more difficult.”
Keimig said she gave a few pointers to Woodrow to act as a blind person.
“I told her to focus on something,” Keimig said.
“Past people,” Woodrow added. “And make it look like I’m not seeing them but hearing them.”
Tanner Skillings, who plays Mike Talman, said he hasn’t acted in a few years, since his time at Minneota High School. He was encouraged to go out for “Wait Until Dark” by Southwest Minnesota State University theater professor Sheila Tabaka, he said.
“But it’s fun, I enjoy it,” he said.
Coming into the first readthrough of the show, Skillings said he didn’t know anything about it.
“But I think initially when you read anything, you project your own emotions into the characters,” he said. “Like when you read a book, the characters, you find a relatability factor within yourself.”
As for his character, Mike, Skillings said he’s a con man, but “he’s a little bit more smooth.”
Woodrow said SMSU seems to do more comedies, so she’s glad to be in a more serious show.
“To play in a totally different genre is really great, you can expand your talent,” Woodrow said.
This is also Woodrow’s first large role on stage.
“It’s been really great, I work with great people, it makes the process fun and exciting to get to that endpoint, opening night,” Woodrow said.
Susy Hendrix is also a challenging role, especially when Hepburn made it noteworthy in the movie version, Woodrow said. The role garnered Hepburn an Academy Award nomination for best actress.
“It’s big shoes to fill with Audrey Hepburn in the movie,” Woodrow said. “It’s exhilarating to fill those shoes.”
Sonya Karels portrays Gloria, the young neighbor girl of Susy’s.
“She thinks she knows everything and tries to get in everybody’s business,” Karels said of her character. Susy and Gloria do not get along at first, Karels said.
During the show’s rehearsals, Karels noted how her fellow actors have gotten into their roles.
“It’s nice to see them grow as they’re working on stuff,” Karels said.