Thursday, May 5, 2011

SICK by Greg Ayers

By Greg Ayers
Directed by Paul Dobie
Monday May 9th 7pm
Ripley-Grier Studios
520 8th Avenue, 16th Floor Studio 16D
(Between 36th and 37th Streets)
New York, New York 10018
($5 suggested donation)

“You wanna see something really scary?” Does anyone else have that first scene from Twilght Zone: The Movie etched into their brain? My answer is always just excited and enthusiastic as Albert Brooks’ character- “Yes! Yes, I do! Show me, please, now.”

OK, maybe he didn’t answer exactly like that in the movie- he was cooler about it than I usually am. But I can’t help it, scary get me excited. And just like Albert Brook’s character, I’ll usually end up regretting saying yes. You see, although I love to be scared, I also have an overactive imagination. Watching a scary movie or listening to a scary story, although thrilling at the time, will almost always come back to haunt me. I’ll lose a night or two of sleep because I’ll have convinced myself that the only way to keep the nasty things that live in the dark at bay is to keep my eyes open. But still, I say yes. I don’t know what it is- maybe it’s the adrenaline rush or the glimpse into the unknown. Whatever it is, it has a hold on me.

Growing up I never imagined theater could be scary. Going to see community theater productions of Plaza Suite and the Odd Couple kinda gave me the impression that theater was a little (or a lot) hoaky. I still loved it and wanted to be part of it, I just sort of accepted that if I were to succeed, I would need to be hoaky too. Fine. No problem. I can do hoaky.

But all those preconceived notions about the limitations of theater were shattered when I saw my college’s production of Wait Until Dark. In that last scene, in the dimly lit apartment, where Roat is coming at Suzy with a knife while she frantically tries block the light coming from the open refrigerator- chills up my spine.

Of course it helped that the actor playing Roat in this particular production was especially good at bringing the creepiness. He would adlib horrible but wonderfully scary things like “Suzy. Suzy, I’m coming. I’m coming Suzy. Do you see me, cause I see you.” I remember, leaning forward with all my muscles tensed up, captivated by what I was seeing- This aint Neil Simon! My heart was racing. I desperately wanted her to get away from him- but how could she?- he was just inches from her. Then black out. She unplugged the refrigerator! Then a scream cut through the darkness- Suzy’s scream. WHAT HAPPENED?!

That moment has stayed with me for close to 15 years. It inspired me to write SICK.

About the Playwright:

GREG AYERS is a proud member of Coyote REP. His two other plays are Rated M for Mature and John and Greg's High School Reunion (which he co-wrote with John Halbach). As an actor, he's currently appearing in Alky, which will run at the PIT in June/July. Greg is a graduate of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts.

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