STEPHEN King’s Misery is to be the next play produced on the Gaiety Theatre stage by In Yer Space.
Not long after finishing their sell-out production of Calendar Girls, the theatre company is all set to return with this much darker piece of theatre next week (October 4-6).
The psychological thriller tells the story of novelist Paul Sheldon who is involved in a terrible car crash on the journey back to the city from his lonely writer’s retreat in the mountains.
On regaining consciousness, he is alarmed to discover that he’s been badly injured and being cared for by his ‘number one fan’, Annie Wilkes.
Hampered by his physical incapacitation and the inclement weather that rages outside, Sheldon is trapped by his ‘success’ and held hostage by an increasingly unstable nurse who has her own goal in mind.
The heroine of his series of books, Misery Chastain, has just died in the last installment. But Annie wants him to resurrect her in a new story written just for for. And if Sheldon fails to comply then Annie will take steps to make it happen, even if it means a little ‘editing’ of her own…
Colin explained: ‘Misery works on two levels. It is both a literal tale of two people confined in a small space, one of them invalided and at the mercy of the other, and the metaphorical story of a writer fighting to come to terms with the inner struggle of artistic compromise and commercial success, his insecurities tearing him apart in the process.’
The novel was adapted into a very successful film in 1990 starring James Caan and Kathy Bates, who won an Oscar for Best Actress. It was also adapted into a successful Off Broadway play, which was then revived to critical acclaim in 2005 in London.
Colin said: ‘As an intense psychological thriller, the stage version presents enormous challenges; it is very much an on-the-edge-of-the-seat piece of theatre with some shocks which would spoil the surprise if we gave too much away. And very different from the productions we have presented so far.’
Island-based actor Carl Parker plays Sheldon. He is no stranger to the Gaiety Theatre having more performed in In Yer Space productions Bouncers, Two, The 39 Steps and Calendar Girls.
‘For much of the play he is either confined to bed or to a wheelchair. It is a far cry from the roles he has played so far and certainly very challenging,’ said Colin.
Meanwhile, London-based actress Rachael McCormick, whose most recent performance was a 14 month stint in Oliver! in London’s West End, plays Wilkes. Although having trained in musical theatre she is no stranger to straight acting roles nor to the island, having appeared with In Yer Space in The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband and Crystal Clear a few years ago.
She also played the role of the Slag in Jim Cartwright’s I Licked a Slag’s Deodorant during In Yer Space’s In Yer Local Pub tour in the island which brought theatre to pub venues. After Misery, she will be going on to play Little Voice in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice next March as well as choreographing The Sound of Music in April.
Colin said: ‘Establishing the tense relationships between the characters and creating the suspense is what this play is all about.
‘Rehearsals have been going well and audiences are in for a shocking treat. It all boils down to a battle of wills between Paul and Annie and that is what creates the intensity.
‘For both actors their performances have to be rooted in truth and that is what has been exciting about working on the play - finding the motivation for their behaviour. In Paul’s case reacting to the situation he finds himself in, being helpless for much of the time because of his incapacity.
‘And in the case of Annie, establishing the unpredictable nature of the woman. The unpredictability is frightening.
‘Both actors give very strong performances; they are fantastic roles to play. The three week rehearsal period has been intense, to say the least!’
Tickets for the show, which starts at 7.30pm each night, cost £16.50 with concessions available. Call 600555 or visit www.villagaiety.com