New Village Arts stirs up scares in new production of ‘Wait Until Dark’

New Village Arts stirs up scares in new production of ‘Wait Until Dark’
In “Wait Until Dark,” Kristin Woodburn, left, plays a blind woman terrorized by three thugs, one of whom is played by Daren Scott, as they search for a heroin-filled doll believed to be in her apartment. Photo by Jenny Jozwiak

CARLSBAD — Hot off of its successful run of the lighthearted musical “Suds,” New Village Arts Theatre (NVA) is bringing a completely different show to its stage. 

Where “Suds” aimed for applause and laughter, NVA’s newest production, “Wait Until Dark,” is striving to make audiences scream.

Written by Frederick Knott, “Wait Until Dark” revolves around three thugs terrorizing a blind woman while searching through her apartment for a doll filled with heroin.

NVA originally planned “Wait Until Dark” as part of last year’s season, but had to cut the show due to budgetary reasons. Now back on track, the theater is working to make playgoers jump in their seats.

“It’s just such a technically precise show,” said Kristin Woodburn, who plays the blind woman, Susy Hendrix.

The show relies on actors lunging at each other and crashing over furniture, sometimes in complete darkness.

Woodburn and fellow actor Daren Scott, who plays one of the main criminals, explained that there is a great deal of technical fight choreography.

“There’s so much specific action in this play that we went about the process a little bit differently. We started working actions first and sort of the lines came second,” said Scott.

“It can be really exhausting getting it just right,” he said. “We’re using instruments that look real and there’s just a care of fight choreography.”

But he said that he knows he’s nailed it when he hears people jumping up and screaming.

Woodburn has the extra challenge of relying on senses other than her sight to portray a blind woman.

“I started focusing on what would I use sense-wise if I didn’t have my eyesight. Touch, sound, smell even became really important,” she said. “It really comes easy if you just invest in being right there.”

Director Kristianne Kurner emphasized the importance of timing throughout the show to achieve the right balance of action, lighting and sounds.

“You really have to feel how long you let the audience sit in silence before bringing out another sound,” she said.

“Wait Until Dark” opens Oct. 5 and runs both evening and matinee performances through Oct. 27. For tickets, visit newvillagearts.org.

 

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