The author must write as if his life depended on it | State and region

The suspense will build in the Historic Fayette Theater’s next production when writer Paul Sheldon must write as if his life depends on it…and it does.

Misery, adapted from a Stephen King novel and then a popular film, will be the feature film of the summer at the theater located in the heart of Fayetteville.

The play will begin tonight and run for three weekends with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. There will be a matinee, the closing show, on July 24 at 2 p.m. For more information, call the theater box office at 304-574-4655 or see the Facebook page.

Misery is the story of a best-selling novelist, Paul Sheldon, who is saved from a car accident by his “number one fan”, Annie Wilkes. The tension quickly mounts as Annie discovers he killed her favorite character and Paul realizes he must act quickly to save his life.

This dark thriller is directed by HFT veteran Gene Worthington.

“It’s a play I’ve wanted to do for a while,” said Worthington, one of the theater’s founders who is now in his 29th year. “The rights weren’t available until this summer and I immediately planned to bring this show to life on stage.” Worthington went on to say that the play has several twists and turns that were challenging, but he enjoyed directing the suspenseful story.

The play has only three characters. Writer Paul Sheldon will be played by Beckley’s Will Radford. Radford, a graduate of Marshall University’s theater program, has played a number of roles in the area.

“This role is a dream role to play,” he said. “It’s both physically and mentally difficult.”

Fayetteville-based Jessica Hughes will play the irrational Annie Wilkes, and HFT regular Dwight Neil, also from Fayetteville, will play the Sherriff trying to save the novelist.

Misery is a play based on the King novel and adapted by William Goldman. Goldman adapted the play for a 1990 film starring Kathy Bates and James Caan. Now he has revised the suspense thriller on stage. Misery is produced in collaboration with Dramatists Play Service. Funding for the Historic Fayette Theater is provided annually by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture, and History with additional funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The theater’s next scheduled production will open in September and will be directed by Josh Whisman. The play, 39 Steps, is a parody of Alfred Hitchcock’s films.

The Historic Fayette Theater is located on Court Street in the historic district of Fayetteville. Tickets to Misery are $12 for adults and $8 for seniors and students 12 and under. The ticket office will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. if you wish to buy your tickets on site or you can order your tickets online at For more information, call 304-574-4655.

Lola R. McClure