Romance writer Paul Sheldon, awakening out of deep unconsciousness into a world of pain, finds he is imprisoned by the psychotic Annie Wilkes, a former nurse who lives in solitude in rural Colorado, who rescued him after a car crash on an isolated country road.
His self-proclaimed “Number One Fan,” Annie is obsessed with Paul’s series of romance novels about heroine Misery Chastain. Paul however, has grown tired of his character, and wants to move on to more “serious” literature. This, you can bet, will not go over well with Paul’s — and Misery’s — number one fan.
Cranbrook Community Theatre is opening its 2022-2023 season with “Misery,” the edgy psychological thriller based on the novel by Stephen King. The play is by William Goldman, who also wrote the screenplay for the film based on King’s novel. It is directed for the CCT stage by Trevor Lundy, and produced by Michelle McCue.
The story of “Misery” is as much about the power of writing as anything. The darkness and pain of Annie’s world emanates from herself, and Paul is trapped there, crippled, becoming dependent on pain-killing drugs, subject to Annie’s whims and moods and yet completely dependant on her.
But Paul, in being forced to write by and for his captor, looks to find a way to write his way out of the darkness he is in. And oh, what a dark place it is.
The claustrophobia and moments of almost unbearable tension are presented on the stage by Jeff Cooper as Paul and Tracy McGuire as Annie, who are outstanding in their roles, bringing us right into the confines of Annie’s home with them. We share Paul’s pain, bewilderment and fear, and even come to get inside Annie’s dark mindset, as they become codependant on each other in a nightmare without no exit signs. Patrick Baranowski plays the laconic country sheriff who will be sucked into the nightmare.
“Misery” opens tonight, Friday, Oct. 14, and runs Oct. 15, 20-23, and 26-29, at the Studio Stage Door in Downtown Cranbrook. Tickets are available at https://www.cranbrookcommunitytheatre.com/show-tickets