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'Misery' loves company: Great Falls theatre presents a Stephen King classic

Andy Southon and Meghan Wakely
Andy Southon
Posted at 1:43 PM, Oct 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-15 19:29:35-04

GREAT FALLS — Curious about hobbling? You can find out about all you need to know when the Act Normal Theatre Troupe in Great Falls presents an adaptation of the Stephen King classic, “Misery.”

The theatre company known for its murder mysteries and comedy is branching out. And just in time for Halloween, they’re putting their spin on one of the all-time great horror writer’s most well-known works.

As a Stephen King fan, Meghan Wakely is channeling her inner Annie Wilkes - the mentally unstable and obsessed nurse taking care of her literary idol.

“Her favorite writer in the world is Paul Sheldon and she is his number one fan, and she takes it way too far,” says Wakeley who portrays the character made famous by an Oscar winning performance by Kathy Bates in the 1990 film of the same name.

Veteran actor Andy Southon jumped at the chance to play the injured writer.

Andy Southon and Meghan Wakely
Andy Southon and Meghan Wakely in 'Misery'

“Paul Sheldon has written an anthology of books. He definitely feels like he’s past that point of his life and wants to explore new options as a writer,” said Southon. “And for some reason, he keeps getting pulled back into Misery’s world.”

David Saslav stars in his second Act Normal production, playing the observant county sheriff trying to solve a mystery.

“He doesn’t know what’s going on in this weird, psycho-dramatic world he’s encountered because there’s no evidence to suggest anything untoward is going on,” said Saslav. “So it’s really just a question of is he going to tumble into something before something bad happens to him?”

Director Tianta Stevens founded the Act Normal Theatre Troupe in 2013 to help fill a void left by the closing of Center Stage Community Theatre. The current production presents a departure from their usual dinner theater and murder mystery formula.

“With 'Misery,' we’re kind of venturing away from that,” said Stevens. “We’re not doing a dinner show and we’re not doing a comedy, so we’re trying something a little bit dark and creepy for Halloween.”

Stevens says even though the production isn’t a typical Act Normal performance, it’s a great entertainment option.

"There's nothing like live theater. It brings community together in a shared experience," said Stevens. "We can get people to laugh, we can get people to cry, we can get people to think maybe in situations they've never considered before.

Because of the language, Misery is not recommended for children. As for the inclusion of that legendary and gruesome “hobbling” scene that made movie goers cringe, Wakeley and other cast members wouldn’t elaborate and say people will have to attend the performance and see for themselves.

“You choreograph it first,” said Wakeley. “Then you practice the stage combat repeatedly to make sure that nobody gets hurt.”

The troupe has six performances scheduled at Times Square in downtown Great Falls between October 20th and 30th:

  • Thursday, October 20 at 7:00 pm
  • Saturday, October 22 at 2:00 pm
  • Sunday, October 23 at 7:00 pm
  • Friday, October 28 at 7:00 pm
  • Saturday, October 29 at 7:00 pm
  • Sunday, October 30 at 7:00 pm

For more information and to buy tickets, click here.