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In the thriller Wait Until Dark, a blind woman levels the playing field by turning off the lights after she stumbles into a dangerous drug scheme.

[Times photo: Kevin White]
After a killing, John Masterson, who plays Roat, drags Sam Petricone, portraying Mike, into another room during a dress rehearsal for the Stage West Community Playhouse presentation of Wait Until Dark.


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 27, 2000

SPRING HILL -- Susy Hendrix is alone in her Greenwich Village basement apartment -- or so she thinks.

This week, Stage West Community Playhouse will present Frederick Knott's thriller Wait Until Dark, the story of a blind woman who stumbles into a dangerous scheme of con artists, drugs and danger.

"This show will keep you on the edge of the seat," said director Bill Devlin. "Everybody loves a thriller."

Wait Until Dark weaves the story of Roat, a menacing con man, and two ex-convicts, Mike and Carleno, who are about to meet their match in Susy Hendrix.

Roat has traced the location of a doll containing a fortune in drugs to the home of Sam Hendrix and his blind wife, Susy. Sam, not knowing the doll's contents, has been persuaded by a strange woman to transport the doll across the Canadian border.

The situation becomes more urgent when the woman is murdered.

The con men convince Susy that her husband has been implicated in the woman's death and that the doll, which she believes is evidence, is the key to his innocence.

"These con men play on her sympathy," said Sam Petricone, who plays Mike. "They have come up with this whole deception of how important this doll is without ever telling her the truth."

Susy refuses to reveal the location of the doll and, with the help of a young neighbor, figures out she is the victim of a bizarre charade.

"She is kind of daring," said Bobbie Lynch, who is making her Stage West acting debut. "She doesn't let a little thing like fear stop her."

Susy realizes the only way to win the game is to play by her own rules. When darkness falls, she levels the playing field by turning off all the lights.

Devlin said the thriller hinges on technical aspects that may go unnoticed by audiences.

"When they get the light and sound right, you don't notice," said Devlin, who directed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the playhouse in 1997. "But without the wonderful crew we have, this play would never be as good as it is."

The play, he said, differs a bit from the 1967 movie starring Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin and Richard Crenna.

At a glance

WHAT: Wait Until Dark

WHEN: Opens Thursday and continues Thursdays and weekends through Nov. 19. Shows are at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays.

WHERE: Stage West Community Playhouse, 8390 Forest Oaks Blvd., Spring Hill

TICKETS: $12 for adults, $6 for students 17 and younger. The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and one hour before each show. Call 683-5113.

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