“Hill house, not sane, stood by itself against its hills holding darkness within . . . and whatever walked there, walked alone.”
These chilling lines appear at the beginning and end of the classic novel, “The Haunting of Hill House,” by Shirley Jackson. When The Lakeside Players discovered the book had been turned into a play, they jumped at the chance to perform it right after Halloween.
Now, audiences can experience the thrills and chills of Hill House on November 2, 3 and 4 at Lakeville Community Hall, Route 590, Lakeville (between the United Methodist Church and the fire house). Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday matinee is at 3 p.m. All tickets are $14.
The play adaptation, by F. Andrew Leslie, follows the novel closely. Dr. Montague, an investigator of supernatural phenomena, summons three strangers to help him unlock the morbid secrets of a remote, abandoned mansion.
Shy, secretive Eleanor and moody, impulsive Theodora are invited because they’ve had psychic experiences. Charming Luke joins the party because he’s heir to the house. A stern caretaker, Dr. Montague’s overbearing wife, and the wife’s compliant assistant round out the colorful cast.
But the real star of the show is Hill House. Cut off from the outside world by its remote location and shunned by all who know its forbidding and sinister reputation, the house has remained empty and silent for years. The play is a chilling and mystifying study of mounting terror in a place of evil, where mysterious powers brought madness and death to those who lived there in the past.
The cast includes Frank DeSando as Dr. Montague, Jenilyn Mahon as Eleanor, Regina Yeager Drouse as Theodora, Bart Mahon as Luke, Marylou Ambrose as Mrs. Montague, Randy Hennig as Arthur, and Roxan Schwartz as Mrs. Dudley. Tony Schwartz is directing.
Shirley Jackson, who also wrote the famous short story “The Lottery,” wrote “The Haunting of Hill House” in 1959. The novel has been made into a movie twice: in 1963 and in 1999. And now, coinciding with The Lakeside Players’ performances, Netflix is airing a new series with the original title. Horror fans just can’t get enough of Hill House!
The Lakeside Players were founded in 1999 by Marylou Ambrose and Tony Schwartz. The pair has written six two-act plays and a dozen audience-participation murder mysteries that are sold at www.tonylouproductions.com. Their murder mysteries have been performed in 48 states and 13 foreign countries. Lakeside has also won numerous awards for acting, directing, and playwriting from the Northeastern PA Theatrical Alliance.
To make reservations for “The Haunting of Hill House,” call 570-226-6207, or buy tickets online or at the door. For more information on The Lakeside Players, or to buy tickets online with a credit card, visit www.lakesideplayers.net.