11300 NE 2nd Ave
Miami Shores, Florida 33161
Performing at Naked Stage, The (Jul 26 - Aug 12)
Runtime: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
Naked Stage conjures a seductive fright night
Jeffrey Hatcher’s stage adaptation of James’ 1898 novella, first staged locally at New Theatre in 1998, utilizes just two actors, one to portray the ghost-haunted governess, the other in multiple roles. Naked Stage artistic director Katherine Amadeo plays the determined young parson’s daughter who says yes to a governess job at an isolated, imposing mansion that reminds her of Hamlet’s Elsinore Castle. Matthew William Chizever takes on all the other parts: a seductive bachelor aristocrat who wants nothing to do with his orphaned niece and nephew; a warm-hearted housekeeper acquainted with certain recent tragedies; and 10-year-old Miles, the boy whose strange behavior has just earned him expulsion from boarding school.
The housekeeper, the governess, Miles and his mute younger sister Flora are ostensibly alone at Bly, the story’s gothic mansion. But all too soon, the governess begins spotting a man and a woman, as the children grow increasingly agitated. Is the woman Miss Jessel, the dead former governess? Is the man Peter Quint, Jessel’s sadistic lover, a man also among the departed? Or is the new governess inching toward madness?
For the audience, the answers to those questions barely matter. Turn of the Screw is all about atmosphere, mood and goosebumps. Director and lighting designer Ledford conjures all those things, in collaboration with Antonio Amadeo, whose predominantly gray period set keeps the focus on the expressive faces of the actor-storytellers; Leslye Menshouse, whose dark costumes do the same; and Matt Corey, whose sound design dials up the tension at key moments.
Almost an apparition herself, with her waif-like figure and porcelain beauty, Amadeo makes the 20-year-old governess a potential victim and determined fighter. She doesn’t definitively suggest whether the young woman is right about the ghosts or losing her grip on reality, and that ambiguousness just deepens the play’s mystery.
Chizever is crafty, commanding and chameleonic. Leaving the stage as one person then suddenly reappearing as another, he uses his malleable voice and physicality to populate the stage with distinctive, memorable characters. It is Chizever who supplies the emotional jolts in Turn of the Screw – the “boo” factor that thrill seekers and ghost story lovers crave.
The Naked Stage is delighted to present THE TURN OF THE SCREW by Jeffrey Hatcher from the story by Henry James.
Based on the provocative tale of suspense, horror and repressed sexuality, this adaptation of THE TURN OF THE SCREW gives the famous story yet another turn of its own. A young governess journeys to a lonely English manor house to care for two recently orphaned children. But she is not their first governess. Her predecessor, Miss Jessel, drowned herself when she became pregnant by the sadistic valet, Peter Quint, who was, himself, found dead soon after the mysterious circumstances. Now, the new governess has begun to see the specters of Quint and Jessel haunting the children, and she must find a way to stop the fiends before it is too late. But are the ghosts real, or are they the product of her fevered imagination?
THE TURN OF THE SCREW stars Naked Stage Artistic Director Katherine Amadeo, Matthew William Chizever and is directed by Margaret M. Ledford
The award winning Naked Stage is a professional, non-profit company that is dedicated to producing works that test the audience’s perception of what a theatre experience should be. From innovative reinventions of classic plays to distinguishing interpretations of challenging new works, the Naked Stage strives to create distinctive and unexpected works of theatre.