By Joseph Pratt
“Afraid of the Dark,” by James Reach, is about a newlywed couple, Chauncey and Lillums, who arrive at “Stone Mansion” for their honeymoon. It’s an isolated country estate belonging to Chauncy’s aunt and supposedly unoccupied. Chauncey confesses he’s been afraid of the dark ever since childhood. Having unburdened himself, the lights suddenly go out, and when they come on again, they find they’re surrounded by fantastic characters in this supposedly deserted house. Then they find themselves in the midst of a spy plot—-with a twist!
Sandi Davis is directing “Afaid of the Dark.” Davis has taught at Notre Dame for eleven years, where she instructs English and drama. Since she has been employed with Notre Dame, she has produced and directed nine productions.
“It is just a really cute show. It is a farce. There are a lot of cheap laughs and some of what I call well-planned laughs, but I think some of the cheap laughs are the best part, the little puns,” Davis said. “I’ve even incorporated some of the vaudeville style in the show, with the way the actors actually face the audience when they do the funny thing, which is new, because I haven’t really done much of that.”
Davis has high expectations for this year’s productions, which she says is due to a talented and dedicated cast of her students.
“This show is all timing and heart. You know? You can time it ‘til the cows come home, but if the kids don’t put the heart into it, it isn’t going to work,” Davis said. “This is one of those plays that, when I read the script, I knew it could be our best. I told the kids that if they come in, leave their inhibitions at the door and not care what people think, then this will be our best show, because it is just that funny. Which, I think they’ve accomplished.”
Samantha Kielmar, senior, has been in theatre all four years of high school and has been involved with a production in Ashland outside of school. Kielmar plans on pursuing her role in theatre further when she attends college in the fall.
“My character is pretty wild,” Kielmar said. “She thinks she is Queen Elizabeth and wants to behead everybody. Her one line is pretty much, “off with their head,” which is pretty good. She is a special one. This role is fun and entertaining.”
Kielmar said she is stepping down and playing a more minor character with this production, but says it has been fun nonetheless.
“I think it is a pretty funny show, even backstage; I have a hard time not laughing. Even though most of the humor is physical, I know what is going on and I just know how funny it is.”
The show will run April 11 and 12 in the Frank S Duncan Memorial Hall, on the seventh floor of the Masonic Temple on Chillicothe Street in Portsmouth. The doors open at 6 p.m. and the show will start at 7 p.m. performances.
Presale tickets begin April 7, in the high school office. General admission is $10 and student admission is $5. Tickets can be purchased at the door, but the school suggests getting there early, because the show is typically sold out. Proceeds from the show go towards tuition scholarships at Notre Dame.
For more information, contact Sandi Davis at 740-353-0719.
Joseph Pratt can be contacted at the Portsmouth Daily Times 740-353-3101, EXT 287, or by Twitter @Joseph Pratt03.