Theatre: Stephen King’s Misery A Tale to Savor
MISERY, originally a novel by Stephen King, has been adapted for the stage. Brought to the stage by d2 productions, it’s a harrowing story of a writer taken prisoner by his number one fan. Mixing desperation with insanity, it’s a tale of survival in the face of overwhelming odds.
MISERY begins with author Paul Sheldon (Max Laferriere) waking up in a strange bed, while in hideous pain. He is greeted by Annie Wilkes (Caroline Fournier), who claims to be a nurse and explains that he was in a car accident. With the roads closed and the phone lines out, she explains that there’s no way to contact his family or agent.
The play was very well produced. The acting was stellar, and you really felt empathy for Paul Sheldon’s character every time he groans in pain. There was always a gasp in the audience every time Annie hit him, and I even noticed an audience member or two covering their eyes when it came time for the hobbling. His screams felt authentic, not rehearsed or faked in any way. In the same vein, Annie Wilkes was very well cast and played, as well. Her rants and delusions left me with my heart racing, terrified about what she’d do to poor Paul next. Was she going to kill him? Would he be rescued at all? There were so many questions I was asking myself, as I grew invested in this incredible play.
The banter between Paul and Annie was also well done. Paul was clearly terrified of her, yet also trying very hard to find a way to resist. Every line had a subtext to it—whether to hide his own intentions, or to placate Annie’s character. Every time he begs her not to hurt him pulls a tug at your heart strings. It’s a story that can be transcribed onto all of us—that bully in school, the angry parent, the abusive spouse. It’s a reminder of the people who live in circumstances like these every day. How many times have we navigated around getting berated by our boss, even?
The set is very well designed, with the bed taking prominence at the forefront of the stage. Walls and wallpaper make up the backdrop, while the stage is decorated with items that could be found in any cozy country home. Also impressive was that a rotary phone was a part of the set—I’d thought those had all disappeared ages ago! The set felt like a house, in a way. A house surrounded by voyeurs, but it had doors, rooms, and even an exit.
In conclusion, this play is a must-see for Stephen King fans, theatre buffs, and anyone who wants to see theatre done right. Treat yourself, and watch a very human story of suffering and fear.
Misery is at the Mainline Theatre until November 13. Tickets can be found HERE.