Elmira Little Theatre to bring Stephen King's 'Misery' to life at the Clemens Center
ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- Stephen King's "Misery" will soon come to life at the Clemens Center, thanks to the Elmira Little Theatre (ELT).
Based on the 1987 psychological horror thriller novel, "Misery" follows the story of romance novelist Paul Sheldon after he is rescued from a car crash by his “number one fan,” Annie Wilkes. As he recovers at Annie's home, she becomes enraged after discovering Paul has killed off her favorite character, Misery Chastain, in his latest book. When she forces Paul to write a new novel to revive Misery, he quickly realizes his life depends on his writing.
Playing the villainous Annie in ELT's production is Christa Louise Perz, who was determined to nail the complexity and insanity behind the character.
"I did a lot of reading. I did a lot of research on the part," she said. "There's been a lot of surprising, wonderful moments."
Still, stepping into the shoes of Annie was a very daunting task for Perz. Not only was she portraying a well-known horror character, but she was also following in the footsteps of Kathy Bates -- whose portrayal of Annie in the 1990 film adaptation of the novel led to her winning the Academy Award for Best Actress.
"I remember the movie, of course, and Kathy Bates was wonderful," said Perz. "I wanted to channel some of [Bates' version] and then put my own spin on it, so it's been incredible."
Joining Perz in the three-person cast is Noyes J. Lawton as Paul and Josh Scanlon as Sheriff Buster. As someone who has only been a part of bigger productions, this intimate cast was a completely new experience for the latter.
"This [show] has got a very different vibe and a different feel to it," Scanlon said. "[I]n terms of a three-person cast, there's so much that goes on with characterization and bringing the plot to life that you can't help but be mesmerized, especially by the work that Noyes and Krista had been doing."
Playing the supporting character in the show, Scanlon had the chance to learn from his co-stars during the rehearsal process.
"I've kind of got a bit part in watching and being on the sideline," he said. "I feel like I'm at an advanced drama class...The kind of work that [Christa and Noyes] do, the amount of work that [they] have put in is phenomenal."
Overall, the process of bringing one of King's famous novels to life has been thrilling for the entire cast.
"The rehearsals have been so much fun," said Perz. "We've been having a great time."
The Elmira Little Theatre will present "Misery" on March 10 to 12 and 17 to 19 at the Clemens Center's Mandeville Hall. Tickets can be bought at the Clemens Center's Box Office either in person, online at ClemensCenter.org or over the phone at (607) 734-8191.