Cedar Street Theatre will bring Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 play “Gaslight” to the Nellie and Lou Bozigian Family Theatre for two weekends, from Oct. 18-Oct. 27.
“Gaslight” is a classic psychological thriller set in London, circa 1880.
“The one thing about ‘Gaslight’ is, it’s where the term gaslighting came from,” Director Sharon Roberts said.
To gaslight someone is to cause a person to question his or her sanity through psychological manipulation.
The play is about a couple, Jack Manningham (William Swartzbaugh) and his wife Bella (Jenessa Beatriux), who reside in a lovely home in foggy London.
“It’s mainly about greed, manipulation and psychological warfare,” Roberts said.
The Victorian melodrama required a strong cast.
“It’s been a challenge for every single actor,” Roberts said. “I needed strong actors and I feel that I really did get those people who fit the part beautifully.”
Swartzbaugh said it’s a heavy drama, psychological thriller and “you don’t see that brought to the stage a lot here in the Antelope Valley.”
Jack Manningham, Swartzbaugh noted, is a narcissistic sociopath. At the beginning of rehearsals, he and Roberts looked at serial killer Ted Bundy and Javier Bardem’s psychopathic assassin in “No Country for Old Men” as inspirations for the character.
“It’s a very dialogue-heavy show, which is great,” Swartzbaugh said.
Beatriux said most people are familiar with the term gaslight, or gaslighting.
“It’s something that I feel we can all identify with, especially as women, because we’ve all had that one relationship where the other person wasn’t necessarily the kindest, or the most truthful,” she said. “I was drawn by the character of Bella and all she goes through. It has a tremendous number of ups and downs; it seemed like a wonderful challenge, a beautiful challenge.”
Actor Dave Ritterband, who plays Inspector Rough, said he was drawn to the play because it has a small cast.
“It gives you an opportunity to really do more,” he said.
Show times are 8 p.m., Oct. 18, 19, 25 and 26 and 2 p.m., Oct. 20 and 27.
Tickets cost $20 for adults and $18, for military, seniors 62 and older and youth 17 and younger.
For details call 661-723-5950, visit www.lpac.org, or the box office at 750 West Lancaster Blvd.