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Roat (Kip Sundlee) plays a terrifying game of cat and mouse with Susy (Claudia Bursch) to reclaim a doll filled with illegal drugs in the Alexandria Area Arts Association production of Wait Until Dark. (Contributed)

A terrifying twist of turns

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Cunning and suspense will collide when Alexandria Area Art Association (AAAA) presents Fredrick Knott’s Wait Until Dark.

An apartment in Greenwich Village becomes the site of a game of cat and mouse. Desperate to reclaim a mysterious doll filled with illegal drugs, con man Harry Roat lays a trap to ensnare a blind woman, Susy Hendrix.

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With the help of his criminal sidekicks and a few disguises, Roat spins a dark tale to fool the innocent and unsuspecting woman. But when the doll cannot be found, the situation spirals out of control. As the struggle builds, Susy realizes that the only way to play fair is to play by her own rules.

“Many of us remember the movie Wait Until Dark with Audrey Hepburn, who earned an Oscar nomination, and Alan Arkin, as one of the scariest movies we saw as young people,” said Sharon Thalmann, the production director. “We’re so excited to bring this classic thriller to the AAAA stage so our audiences can see it live, and so that new generations can experience this fabulous and frightening story.”

Along with a tale of suspense, Knott’s play is also a story of overcoming challenges. Susy, who was blinded later in life, refuses to let her disability dictate what she can or cannot do, even when threatened with a struggle for her life.

Wait Until Dark turned out to be Knott’s last play, and though his body of work was not large, he has become one of the most produced playwrights in the world.

“Today’s motion picture thrillers are often filled with intense special effects, cheap thrills and easy scares,” said Benjamin Klipfel, executive director of AAAA. “Knott, however, was a master of psychology and has a unique ability to take audiences on a terrifying mind trip through this deadly game of cat-and-mouse.”

Wait Until Dark runs Fridays and Saturdays, March 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday matinees March 9 and 16 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for students and seniors. The play is not necessarily appropriate for all audiences, given that the ending is considered one of the most intense scenes ever put on stage.

A comparable movie rating for the play is PG-13 for moments of violence and menace.

Tickets can be purchased over the phone at (320) 762-8300. For more information, visit alexandriaareaarts.org.

Wait Until Dark is produced with permission from Samuel French and is sponsored by The Animal Doctor of Alexandria and Sauk Centre (Dr. Bill Kraker).

CAST

Claudia Bursch – Susy Hendrix

Kip Sunlee – Harry Roat

Quincy Roers – Mike Talman

Rexford Sweetwater – Sergeant Carlino

Randy King – Sam Hendrix

Lindsey Roers – Gloria

Scott Gianonne – policeman

Tim Ray – policeman

CREW

Sharon Thalmann – Director

Christy Meier – Assistant director

John Thalmann and Sharon Thalmann – Scenic design

Quincy Roers – Lighting design

Bruce Wegner – Sound design

Hilary Ninman and Jamie Sandberg – Prop design

Deb Long – Costume, hair and makeup design

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