OAKHURST – The Golden Chain Theatre (GCT) presents a suspenseful Victorian thriller running three shows per weekend, now through Sunday, Oct. 19.
Angel Street brilliantly tells the story of the Manninghams, who live on Angel Street in late 19th-century London.
“It is clear that things are not quite right in the Manningham home,” say the play’s organizers at GCT.
A chilly thriller said to be the perfect fall theater fare, Angel Street stars Peter Clarke, Sarah Perrson, Amy Fouse, Ken Ryder, and Lydia Mayberry.
Out of an Angel Street script running 100 pages, actress Sarah Perrson is on stage for eighty-one of them, in what director and actor Peter Clarke calls, “a brilliant tour de force of acting stamina.” Perrson plays the central role of Mrs. Bella Manningham, “a gentle, sweet woman slowly being driven mad by her sociopathic, blue beard husband Jack.”
Perrson first became involved in the GCT five years ago when her daughter Amber was in third grade. Eighth grade daughter Amber Perrson is an accomplished actress who recently starred as young Helen Keller in the GCT’s well-received spring show, The Miracle Worker.
Perrson joined the GCT Board of Directors three years ago and is currently board secretary as well as the theater’s costumer.
“Last year I stepped on stage in an acting role for the first time. I got hooked,” Perrson recently confessed. “This past spring I had the unique opportunity to act with my daughter Amber as Helen Keller’s mother Kate. It was wonderful. Amber is presently rehearsing for Wonka, The Musical.”
Perrson’s Bella covers a wide range of emotions over the course of the play up until the final powerful moment.
“This has been the most challenging role I’ve ever encountered,” recounted Perrson. “Bella is an emotional roller coaster…happy, sad, terrified, doubting her sanity. I am completely immersed in the moment. The emotions you see are real. At times I actually cry in response to what is happening on stage.”
Perrson said Angel Street has been an exhausting, yet exciting experience. Besides carrying the load of those eighty-one pages of acting challenge, she co-directed the play with co-star Clarke, and handled duties as costumer, set decorator, and sound designer.
Perrson first learned about GCT from Amy Schneider, who plays Nancy in Angel Street. Amy’s daughter Elise is also a Golden Chain actress who recently performed as Mad Clara in the melodrama The Golden Fleecing.
Three mother-daughter teams are currently active at the theater – Sarah and Amber Perrson, Amy Schneider and Elise Keeler, and artistic director Jennifer Piccolotti and Lyric Piccolotti, who will be playing the titular role in the upcoming production Wonka, The Musical.
“It is not about me, I want a place, not only for my daughter to act, but also a place for kids in our community to go and learn to act and be on stage at whatever level, which is something that some kids may otherwise not ever have a chance to do.”
Angel Street is a compelling psychological thriller that under the title “Gaslight” has been made into two movies, Clarke explained, saying the most notable starred Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. Bergman won an academy award for best actress. Angela Lansbury in her first film role was nominated for Best Supporting Actress. The original stage production starred Vincent Price. Gregory Peck was his understudy.
Friday and Saturday shows start at 7 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. The show is rated PG for content. Admission is $12 per person.
Photos by Steve Montalto/HighMountain Images