UPDATE: The show must go on … unless the actors lose their voices. Which is what has happened to a number of cast members of Invisible Theatre's "Dead Guilty." The Wednesday opening has been delayed. managing artistic director Susan Claassen plans to announce a new opening date as soon as she is sure her cast is up to it. Call IT to change your tickets or check your dates. Meanwhile, a good get well to the cast.
Terry Erbe wants you to be on the edge of your seat. Tense. Guessing. Maybe even a bit scared.
Of course he would: Erbe is directing Invisible Theatre’s production of “Dead Guilty,” a taut suspense play that opens next week.
We had four questions for him; he had the answers.
1. What’s the story line?
“I don’t want to give too much away, but essentially it’s about a woman who has survived a car accident which killed a co-worker.
“As she tries to ease back into her life it becomes clear that things are not what they seem. Items from her house are disappearing and reappearing. Plants show up in her garden that she never planted, phone calls with no one there.
“The question for the audience becomes, ‘What is happening to her?’ Is it in her mind? Is the young man that works for her behind it? Does the psychiatrist know something? Perhaps the deceased co-worker’s wife who has reached out to her is somehow involved?
“So as you watch the story unfold, you piece together the clues and try to determine what is actually going on. It’s a dash of Alfred Hitchcock and a pinch of Agatha Christie.”
2. What spoke to you about this play?
“I like the dynamic of working with a small ensemble of actors. I feel like some of my best work, and certainly some of my favorite experiences, have been with plays or musicals of two to five people.
“I’ve always been a fan of suspense, so that appealed to me. I think the ending is very satisfying but somewhat unusual.
“Most of all, it was a chance to direct four actors I’ve never worked with before but have always admired.”
3. This is a suspense — what’s key to making this effective?
“I think much of the work of suspense is in the pace. You’ve got to earn those pauses. There is a subtlety to the acting and the movement that is crucial to making it work. Music can be a big factor, as is lighting. It all has to come together to build tension.”
4. What’s your goal – what do you want audiences to take away with them?
“This play should be a roller coaster — slowing down and speeding up and careening around corners, surprises here and there, a scream, a gasp, and lots of anticipation. We want you to walk away entertained.”