Wait Until Dark (A script review) A Review of Wait Until Dark Frederick Knott wrote the classic thriller, Wait Until Dark, in 1964. The cast consists of several colorful and delightful characters, Harry Roat, Mike Talman, SGT Carlino, Jr., Susy Hendrix, Sam Hendrix, and the upstairs neighbor, Gloria. The play is set in a dimly lit, small basement apartment in Greenwich Village. The leader of the three con men, Harry Roat, encompasses madness and ruthlessness that provokes squirming, white-knuckled fright. Harry veers from calculating one moment to inept and indifferent the next.
However, the variety only adds to the character and makes him more believable. Susy, who appears to not be threatened by Rout; instead, seems to be invigorated by him from the beginning and determined to face any challenges that he may present her. The second con man, Talman, is a complex character, who appears gangster tough, but must impersonate an old friend of Susy’s husband. However, he is never called upon to be as unflinchingly tough as he could be, and Susy hardly feels the need for his strength in fending off Harry. Next, Carlino, who comes across as having all muscle and not many brains, is the follower of the three cons. While Harry and Talman are actively planning, Carlino is in the background awaiting instructions from the two “stronger” characters.
At some point during the script, Carlino shows his naivet as Susy has some fun with him and starts to “con” him. Arriving in Act I Scene II, Gloria, the sweet little girl from upstairs has the job of going to the store for Susy. Gloria’s character adds comedy to what will soon be an intense situation between Susy and the three con men. A little relief is felt as Susy struggles to enforce the house rules upon this unconstrained and stubborn girl. The plot involves a heroin-filled doll that has found its way into the life, and eventually the apartment, of Susy Hendrix.
The people who want the doll, are the wicked Harry Roat and his conspirators, Talman and Carlino. Together they scheme to get the doll while Susy conjures up a few tricks of her own to combat them, her blindness becoming as much of a tool as a disability. Knotts carefully calculated roller coaster of a play is set to shift into high gear when Sam, Susy’s husband, is about to leave on a short business trip. Just before Sam leaves in Act I Scene II, he gives Susy some words of encouragement. Then Susy asks; “Do I have to be the world’s champion blind woman?” and Sam replies wholeheartedly, “Yes!” Thus, the story starts to roll with Susy reluctantly learning to become independent.
At varied times, humor is interjected throughout the script through the appearances of Gloria, Roat, Carlino and Mike. Each of these characters provides humor that provokes edgy laughter at the perfect moments for the unsettling nerves of the reader as they progress through the script. The central point of Wait Until Dark is the story of a young and innocent woman who has had to face the challenge of living her life with the disability of being blind. Although she has the support of her husband, Susy continues to struggle to actualize the same daily achievements of her previous seeing life. Wait Until Dark is a wonderful and illuminative story of a young woman who realizes that she need not rely on anyone else to care for her despite her blindness.
At the end of Act II Scene III when Susy makes her way up the stairs alone, the reader feels victorious for her as well as a sense of relief and accomplishment. Wait Until Dark is a dramatic thriller that portrays a story of one woman’s courage, ingenuity and strength. Susy learns to cope with her blindness and finds value in her own life. This complex thriller will make it difficult for you to enter darkened rooms alone but will also leave you feeling triumphant. In addition, the true sense of terror and the colorful characters make Wait Until Dark a timeless thriller.