Wait Until Dark by Frederick Knott
Directed by Faye Moritz
Auditions: January 21, 22, 23 and 24 at 7:30pm
Performances: March 9, 10, 16, 17, and 23 at 8pm, and March 24 at 3pm
Synopsys: A sinister con man, Roat, and two ex-convicts, Mike and Carlino, are about to meet their match. They have traced the location of a mysterious doll, which they are much interested in, to the Greenwich Village apartment of Sam Hendrix and his blind wife, Susy. Sam had apparently been persuaded by a strange woman to transport the doll across the Canadian border, not knowing that sewn inside were several grams of heroin. When the woman is murdered the situation becomes more urgent. The con man and his ex-convicts, through a cleverly constructed deception, 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 a young neighbor, figures out she is the victim of a bizarre charade. But when Roat kills 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.
Mike Talman, 35-50 years old
Although once a decent man, with a natural sense of empathy, Mike is a con-man with some bad habits. He is a gambler who did a recent stint in prison with Carlino as a result of a double-cross at the hands of Lisa, their former partner in the con game. At the time the play starts, Mike owes a loan shark some serious money and he is afraid for his life, which causes him to team up with Roat. His job is to get close to Susy so that she just gives him the drug-filled doll he is searching for. He gradually becomes sympathetic to Susy in the midst of his desperation.
Sergeant Carlino, 40-55 years old
The con is the only work Carlino knows, but he is more of a follower than a leader. He is a coarse, uneducated man without a conscience, doing what he needs to do in order to survive. He is a decent con man, but never the brains behind the scheme — although he puts on an air of authority that makes him a natural police officer impersonator. He partnered with Mike to con young women out of their money. Together they partnered with Lisa, who Carlino fell in love with, only adding to his bitterness when she double-crossed them. He is the most hot-headed of the three con men.
Harry Roat, 30-50
Roat is the sinister, cool-headed villain of our story. A true sociopath, and a very creepy professional con man, he is only interested in himself and will do anything to further his lust for drugs and money. In this play, he plays himself and impersonates two other characters (Roat Jr. and Roat Sr.) as part of the con. Although he is an excellent con man, he is also a versatile and audacious criminal who will stop at nothing for the right dollar amount or thrill. He has no conscience, believing other people are below him, and effortlessly getting people to act against their own best interests. He thrives on human frailty, however, becomes quite cowardly and small when he no longer has the upper hand.
Susy Hendrix, 28 years old
Very recently blinded in an accident, Susy is still adjusting to blindness. She is married to Sam, and they do not have any children. Susy has a great sense of humor but is not silly. She desires to be independent, but still relies heavily on Sam. His unsentimental way of dealing with her blindness gives her strength, and she loves him for it. She is highly intuitive and a very sensitive person — traits that give her an air of vulnerability that serves as a counterpoint to her strength. When ultimately faced with the life-or-death threat that is posed by the three con men, she discovers just how strong, self-sufficient, and resourceful she is.
Sam Hendrix, 35-40
Sam is a tough ex-marine who is currently making his living doing photography. He is very intelligent, but not an intellectual. He is very practical and has created a decent life for himself and Susy through simple hard work. He loves Susy very much and wants to see her reach her full potential as a person regardless of her blindness — as a result, he believes that he needs to be hard on her sometimes. We trust Sam immensely and can see that he and Susy belong together. Sam received the doll in the story from Lisa at the airport, not realizing it was filled with drugs, and then misplaced it at home.
Gloria, 11-12 years old
Gloria lives in an apartment upstairs from Susy and Sam, with her mother who is more interested in men than Gloria. Gloria wants desperately to be seen as a young woman but is still very much a child. She often does grocery shopping and small chores for Susy and Sam. She has a soft spot for Sam and really wants Sam to like her, which makes her jealous of Susy. She can be petty and given to tantrums when she is told what to do, however she gains great strength when put in charge of a task. Through the ordeal Susy goes through in this story, Gloria gains new respect for her.
Two cops come in at the end right after the climax of the play. Both men are serious about their work and very professional and trusted characters. However, they’ve never seen anything like what greets them at 27B Grogan Street. Individuals cast in these roles may be asked to join the stage crew for the show in addition to playing their role.
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