Gaslight (October 1-10, 2015)

By Patrick Hamilton. Adapted by David Jacklin.

The season opens with Patrick Hamilton’s famous nail-biting Victorian thriller Gaslight. Hailed by the critic of The New Yorker Magazine as “a masterpiece of suspense,” Gaslight is set in fog-bound London in 1880 in the home of Jack Manningham and his wife Bella. It is late afternoon, a time which Hamilton notes as being the time “before the feeble dawn of gaslight and tea.” As the play opens Bella is clearly on edge, and the stern reproaches from her overbearing husband make matters worse. What most perturbs Bella is Jack’s unexplained absences from the house: he will not tell her where he is going, and this increases her anxiety. As the drama unfolds, it becomes clear that Jack is intent on convincing Bella that she is going insane. Why is he doing this, and will he succeed?