Mysterious thriller keeps audience members guessing what might happen next
Imagine entering a room where the darkness is pierced by red, blue and white lighting that falls upon the main character dressed in white pyjamas; suspense fills the air.
Whether the character is dead or alive is unknown to the audience. She doesn’t move a muscle.
The play “Any Night” begins with the dimming of sidelights. Then light beams shine on the bed.
The song “Sweet Dreams,” by Marilyn Manson, starts to play as a hooded demon with fire in hand creeps out from behind a curtain.
This is when Anna, played by Medina Hahn, wakes up in the basement suite she has just recently rented. She is a modern dancer who suffers from night terrors and sleepwalking.
But the scenes that follow keep patrons on the edge of their seats.
The character Anna not only suffers from night terrors but also goes through panic attacks. She sees her ex-boyfriend in her window and then she threatens Patrick, played by Daniel Arnold, with a knife when she finds out she is secretly being watched.
However, she doesn’t know whether she is awake or sleeping.
Patrick the character plays many roles – including Anna’s ex-boyfriend, a guy who lives upstairs, a haunting devil in her sleep and a crazy neighbour who predicts Anna’s future with reading a tarot card.
The play keeps the audience guessing — just when they think they have the story figured out, a new piece is added to the puzzle. Anna struggles to know whether she is in danger of her ex-boyfriend or if its only a nightmare.
Evan Medd, a graduate from Mount Royal University in 2010, came to see the play for a second time, as he said he is fascinated with this mystery.
“It’s the sort of play that feels like you need a second watch,” Medd said. “There are a lot of intricate details you might not have picked up the first time around.”
How acting feels
As Hahn breathes into her moon-shaped mirror, not a sliver of nervousness is seen in her brown eyes — even with an audience of 60 staring right at her.
She said that when she’s acting, she is so focused on what she is doing that she’s not even aware that the audience is present.
“The minute I’m on stage, I’m not nervous anymore,” Hahn said. “It’s the waiting to go on stage that I find hard.”
Hahn started dancing at the young age of three and began singing at nine. She then moved on to acting when she was 11 years-old.
She said she loves acting because she gets to put herself into situations she wouldn’t find herself in otherwise. As an actress, she said she has to try and understand why people do the things they do and why they make the choices they make.
“When you step into someone else’s shoes, you see things from a different point of view,” Hahn said.
Arnold has been acting since he was 12 and said, “I enjoy going beyond what my mind should think and just live in my body.”
He gets the chance to do this by playing many roles in “Any Night.”
“It’s insane, awesome and really fun. It’s also a big challenge,” Arnold said.
‘Any Night’ becoming a movie
The two playwrights-turned-actors have seen success in the challenge of acting out the play.
“Daniel and Medina have adapted this play into a screenplay and are working on getting it produced,” said artistic director Kelly Reay, who has been an artistic director for eight seasons.
He said that his team works hard to please the audience so they will return to see other plays.
“We look for emotionally-evocative plays that strike a feeling inside you, plays that audience members can relate to,” Reay said. Some might be able to relate to Anna as she has a huge fear of being watched by her ex-boyfriend.
The play is a DualMinds production by Arnold and Hahn who met in 1997 when they were both attending the University of Alberta.
This play has proved popular as it traveled through six different cities in Canada and the U.S. – including Calgary where it ran Nov. 16 – 26.