Cyprus Mail

The flicker of a gas light plays with the mind

Theatro Dionysos will give us a look into the damming effects of psychological abuse with performances of the 1938 play Gas Light by

British dramatist Patrick Hamilton as of Friday in Nicosia.

Set in fog-bound London in 1880 at the upper middle-class home of Jack Manningham and his wife Bella in the afternoon, we find ourselves at the time which Hamilton notes as being the time “before the feeble dawn of gaslight and tea”.

At the opening of the drama Bella is clearly on edge, and the stern reproaches from her overbearing husband (who flirts with the servants) makes matters worse. But what upsets her the most is her husband’s absence from the house and his lack of consideration about telling her where he is going. As the drama unfolds, we understand that Jack is trying to convince Bella that she is going insane. He even goes so far as to assure her that she is imagining the gas light in the house is dimming. The appearance of a police detective called Rough soon leads Bella to realise that Jack is responsible for her torment.

Rough explains that the apartment above was once occupied by a wealthy woman who was murdered for her jewels but that the murderer never uncovered them. From then on, Jack goes to the flat every night in search of the jewels without telling his wife. The sound of his footsteps in a so-called empty apartment and the fact that the lights dim in the rest of the building once Jack has lighted the gaslight in the apartment above theirs, makes Bella doubt her insanity.

The end of the play sees Bella helping Rough expose Jack as the murderer, while she takes her revenge on her husband in the meantime. The play will be performed in Nicosia until March 11 and also be performed in Limassol on February 21.

Gas Light
Performance of the play by Patrick Hamilton. February 9 until March 11. Dionysos Theatre, 29 Diagorou Street, Nicosia. Fridays and Saturdays at 8.30pm and Sundays at 6.30pm. €10/12/15. In Greek. Tel: 99-621845
February 21. Pattihio Theatre, Limassol. 8.30pm. €10/12/15. In Greek. Tel: 25-377277

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