AUDITIONS – WAIT UNTIL DARK – SUN 8/27 & MON 8/28 at 7PM
Wait Until Dark
Directed by Anna Marie Paolercio
Sunday, August 27 at 7 p.m.
Monday, August 28 at 7 p.m.
Performance Dates: November 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 2017
Are you afraid of the dark? Wait Until Dark is one of those rare experiences in the theatre, a true thriller that has the potential to make you jump out of your seat. Written for the Broadway stage in 1966 by Dial “M” for Murder scribe Frederick Knott and turned into a film starring Audrey Hepburn in 1967, Wait Until Dark still has the power to horrify us. Woven with secret identities, a seedy drug smuggling ring, murder, and the cruel cat-and-mouse game between a blind woman and the trio of criminals who stalk her, this play possesses a white-knuckle suspense. Wait Until Dark is a slow burn that builds in menace until the gripping climactic confrontation between its protagonist Susy Hendrix and the terrifying Roat. We apologize in advance for the increase in your electric bills when you refuse to turn off your lights after seeing it!
Wait Until Dark – Character Descriptions
Mike Talman, 35-50 years old
He has to carry a major portion of the show. At one time, Mike was a decent human being and still
has impulses that way – unlike Roat or Carlino, Mike has natural empathy and compassion, but life
threw some bad things his way and he never settled into a respectable existence. He is rootless and
alone in the world, and has some bad habits, gambling chief among them. As a consequence, over
the years he developed into a small-time swindler, able to squelch his kinder impulses when conning
young women out of their money. He’s quite good at it. He should be very likeable and charismatic
but also have a dark side. He’s easy to talk to and thinks fast on his feet. However, as a result of a
double-cross at the hands of Lisa, his former partner in the con game, he and Carlino were both sent
to prison. To make matters worse, he and Carlino never got their money. Mike’s been out of prison
for three months and in that time he’s gotten into serious debt with a loan shark. He has to come up
with a lot of money right away just to keep the loan shark from hurting him severely. At the time
this play starts, Mike is desperate and afraid for his life, which is why he takes the unwise risk of
teaming up with Roat, and why he’s able to put aside his affection for Susy for as long as he does.
Mike Talman is not his real name. It is a name given to him by Roat for the con.
Sergeant Carlino, 40-55 years old
Carlino is a small-time swindler. He is a coarse, uneducated man who isn’t bothered by much of a
conscience. He lives from day to day just trying to survive in a world in which is never the sharpest
guy in the room, whatever room he’s in. He’s not a cruel or sadistic person, but he does what he has
to do in order to survive without a lot of dithering about right or wrong. He is a fairly good con
man, although he’s never the brainchild behind any scheme – but he has an air of authority and that
makes him a natural for impersonating police officers. Unlike Mike, Carlino is not particularly weary
of the small-time con and he’s practiced enough that he’s smooth as long as no surprises are thrown
at him. He is not quite as good at this con business as Mike but it is the only work he knows. He is a
follower and follows Mike’s lead. He’s willing to do pretty much anything if the price is right. He
seldom thinks more than one step ahead of the game and so he very often ends up on the short end
of any con. Carlino teamed up with Mike years ago to con young women out of their money.
Although he and Mike are fairly good friends, when Lisa entered the picture and the three of them
formed a team, Carlino fell in love with her and harbored jealousy toward Mike whenever Lisa
played one of them off of the other, as she very often did. Like Mike, he was left holding the bag
after Lisa informed on them and made her escape to freedom – with Carlino’s and Mike’s money.
Carlino, too, has just been paroled from prison and is broke. He doesn’t like or trust Roat, but he
can’t pass up an opportunity for a big score. Carlino is not his real name. It is the name given to
him by Roat for the con. At some points we feel sorry for him.
Harry Roat, 30-50 years old
Roat is a true sociopath; very creepy man. He has no empathy for anyone, and he has a sadistic
streak a mile wide. Like many sociopaths, he is highly intelligent and manipulates people with ease.
He is an excellent con man, although, unlike Mike and Carlino, that’s not Roat’s only game – he’s a
versatile and audacious criminal and will do anything for money or even thrills. He enjoys seeing
others in pain. He has no conscience whatsoever. Roat is a master of disguise and far more athletic
than he might first appear. He is very adept at using people’s weaknesses to gain an advantage. He is
a supreme narcissist as well – he believes other people are far, far beneath him and he enjoys playing
them; they are less than ants on an ant hill in his mind. He has the ability to take command of a
room and, through the force of his personality, effortlessly gets people to act against their best
interests. Roat will stop at nothing to achieve his ends. The more cowed by him people are, the
more confident he becomes; he thrives on human frailty. However, when the tables are turned and
he no longer has the upper hand, he can be quite cowardly and small. He lived through the beatnik
era and never emerged. Only interested in himself and will do anything to further his lust for drugs
and money. He plays himself and two other characters in this play. His real name is not Harry
Roat. He plays Harry Roat, Jr. and Sr. as part of the con. We know that he is capable of murder. We
should be afraid of him but also surprised by him.
Susy Hendrix, 28-35 years old
Susy is very likeable. She has a good sense of humor but is not silly. She is small in stature compared
to Mike Talman and therefore physically vulnerable. She is smart and very trusting of others. Sam
and Susy have no children. She is wants to be on her own but relies heavily on Sam. Susy is a
vivacious young woman who was blinded in a car accident a year ago. Possessed of a very strong
will, she decided not long after her accident that she would not let it ruin her life. She met Sam a few
months after the accident and was drawn to his refusal to see her as handicapped. His unsentimental
way of dealing with her blindness gives her strength, and she loves him for it. Susy does have her
bad days, though. She is highly intuitive and a very sensitive person. These traits sometimes give her
an air of vulnerability that is a counterpoint to her strong spirit. As a result, she can be irritable with
Sam and, in particular, Gloria, and is sometimes depressed by her circumstances – which is when
Sam’s stolid determination not to let her be a victim is most valuable to her, even if it takes her a
while to “lick her wounds” before bucking up and accepting Sam’s drill-sergeant discipline. Susy is
still adjusting to her blindness – and to her relatively new marriage – and is happy to subjugate her
natural free-spiritedness to Sam’s more rigid way of living because she is grateful to him – she also
happens to love, admire and respect him for many reasons. She knows they are a well-matched
couple, and she is optimistic about their future together and the adventures that await them. When
she is 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 years old
He is a photographer and this is how he makes his living. Sam is very likeable and almost fatherly
with Susy. We trust him immensely. He is very good with Gloria and will act as a go between with
her and Susy. Sam is not on stage a lot but it is important that he have great chemistry with Susy.
Sam is a tough ex-marine and a man who has lifted himself up by his own bootstraps. He is
intelligent, but not an intellectual. He’s a practical man, not a dreamer or a ditherer. Having created a
decent life for himself out of nothing, he is content; he never wallows in sentiment and, while he has
a very sensitive side, he is not comfortable showing it, even to Susy. He’s the kind of person who
makes a decision and then goes with it – he doesn’t second-guess himself or wonder about the road
not taken. He is a decent photographer, but not possessed of an artistic temperament. He works
hard, does a good job and enjoys his life with Susy. He loves her 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 has to
be hard on her sometimes. He met Susy when he saw her trying to cross a busy street in traffic. Her
strong spirit impressed him, but the truth is that it was her vulnerability that attracted him – or,
more specifically, how utterly unaware of her own vulnerability she was. Susy is the only person Sam
knows who can bring out his soft side.
Gloria, 10-12 years old
She lives upstairs from Susy and Sam and they have been paying her to assist Susy with chores and
shopping. Gloria is at that very awkward age between childhood and adolescence; she’s terribly
uncomfortable in her body. She hasn’t had much experience around other adults other than Sam
and Susy. She is a bright child and has a good heart, but her home life is fairly rough; her father
doesn’t live in the house with her mother and her and we get the impression her mother is more
interested in men than Gloria. Gloria wants desperately to be seen like a young woman – but she is
very much still mired in childhood. She has a vague crush on Sam, which makes her jealous of Susy.
She doesn’t like to be told what to do and acts out when she is upset
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her and is very strong when put in charge of things. She can be very petty and given to tantrums,
and like most immature people in such a situation, she blames Susy for “coming between” her and
Sam. However, she also likes Susy because Susy sometimes takes the role of surrogate mother/big
sister to her, offering kind words and advice (on Gloria’s good days). As a result of Gloria’s mixed
feelings for Susy, they have a volatile relationship. But, deep down, she loves Susy and, through the
ordeal Susy goes through in this play, Gloria gains a whole new respect for Susy.
Two Police Officers, 25-55 years old
Two cops come in at the end right after the climax of the play. Both are serious about their work
and very professional. Both should be very trusted characters. They are self-assured and reassuring
individuals. However, they’ve never seen anything like what greets them at 27B Grogan Street.
(NOTE: Two people cast in these parts to be part of our stage crew assisting with
scene changes and properties.)