Rochester Repertory Theatre presents a play adapted from a 19th-century horror novel.
Daria Koon was excited to portray the long character arc of the governess in Rochester Repertory Theatre’s “Turn of the Screw.”
“There’s so much to dive into with this character,” she said.
As events unfold in the stage adaptation of Henry James’ “Turn of the Screw,” the audience sees a young governess changed by the events she witnesses.
“In the span of two seconds, I play three characters,” he said.
Each role makes an opposite demand of its actor in the two-person show. Koon and Kuisle said they found their respective challenges equally enticing. After seeing a notice for auditions, Koon read the play script, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, then she read the original 19th-century novel. A recent graduate with a BFA in musical theater from Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., Koon said she was excited for the role.
“There’s so much in this story as a young woman in this time period, and how she deals with all the challenges presented to her and how they affect her,” she said.
Kuisle has focused on making distinct characters clear to the audience without making them into caricatures.
“I think and I hope I have been successful in creating believable characters,” he said. “These guys can attest that I would slide in and out of accents and characters in rehearsal at the beginning.”
Director Kami Sim said Kuisle has been successful, but agreed it took time and practice.
“A lot of times at the beginning, I’d say, ‘That was hilarious, don’t do that,’ ” Sim said.
The show follows a young governess who, caring for two children at a remote estate, begins to see apparitions and becomes convinced that the grounds are haunted. The audience, unsure of whether the ghosts are real, is pulled into the suspense, Sim said.
“Two pages into the script, you just want to know what happens next,” she said.
The show is set for performances in the blackbox theater at the Rochester Civic Theatre. The sparse set includes one antique chair and a platform.
“It allows for the audience to fill in those details in their own minds,” Sim said.
–John Molseed, Post-Bulletin, July 26, 2021