Program Cover for
Mike TalmanBrent Altomare
Sgt. CarlinoSteve Bohnstedt
RoatTony Eisenhower
Susy HendrixChristine E. Bain
Sam HendrixOrrick Smith
GloriaColleen Armstrong

Steve Bohnstedt
Brent Altomare
Tony Eisenhower
Christine E. Bain
Colleen Armstrong
Orrick Smith
Chuck Roles
John Del-Zio

Playing blind a challenge for local actress


North County Times

Actors aren't often called upon to behave too far away from everyday life, so the exceptions are sometimes trying. Such as Christine Bain stumbling about the stage blindfolded as the heroine of "Wait Until Dark" at Poway Performing Arts Company.

"This is by far the most challenging role I've ever had and the most rewarding," Bain said. "I have been fortunate at both PowPAC and Patio (Playhouse in Escondido) in getting good parts, but those were minor compared to this."

"Wait Until Dark" is a suspense thriller by Frederick Knott, who wrote the earlier edge-of-the-seat play "Dial 'M' For Murder."

The story concerns Susy, a newlywed who's blind and lives with her photographer husband, Sam, in a Greenwich Village basement flat.

"I spent a day at the center for the blind," Bain said. "The most surprising thing was that I wasn't certain all the people there couldn't see. 'They acted just like sighted people. Then when I learned my lines, I started wearing a blindfold at rehearsals."

The role is taxing. Left alone when Sam has an out-of-town assignment, Susy has a parade of visitors, not all of whom are friendly. And she can't be sure any one of them, except her 9-year-old neighbor, is who he claims to be.

"Susy knows that two of the men are pretending to be other people, which was very difficult for me. I had to let the audience know that I could tell from listening to how they walked, but not give myself away.

"Jay Mower, the director, was a great help in that. He has blind friends and he taught me how to react. I can face other people when they're talking, but otherwise I don't. and I am not supposed to focus. I'm supposed to depend on my other senses."

The entire show hangs on Bain's performance. The bizarre goings-on stem from a murder in Susy and Sam's apartment while they were out at dinner. Other elements are a mysterious doll, possible adultery on Sam's part and telephone calls from the booth at street level. 'Ihe finale is a showdown between the blind woman and a killer.

Bain said everyone connected with the show has been extra helpful. "I heard stories about accidents, such as a jar of mayonnaise breakng on the floor, that put the actress in a bad situation. She could actually see the broken glass, but wasn't supposed to.

"To be sure that doesn't happen to me, the props are plastic, which I appreciate because I walk around barefoot part of the time. And there's nothing to trip over.

"Another good thing about the play is that I'm the only woman in the cast. That's a lot of fun, more than I've had even in good parts."

Bain's previous roles include the part of Lizzie Borden's friend in "The Lights Are Warm And Coloured" at PowPAC and as one of the tough chorus girls in Patio's "Guys and Dolls."

"Wait Until Dark" features two PowPAC veterans. Orrick Smith, seen recently in "The Foreigner," plays Sam. Tony Eisenhower, who played in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," is one of the mystery men. Others in the cast are Brent Altomare, Steve Bohnstedt, Colleen Armstrong, Chuck Roles and John Del-Zio.

Director Jay Mower moves easily from theater to theater in North County. For PowPAC, he staged "Play It Again, Sam," the first production in the company's present venue, and "Angel Street." He also directed "Vampyre" for Patio Playhouse.