WHEN director Nicola Bond began casting for her stage adaptation of the classic gothic-romance Rebecca, female actors flocked to one particular role.
It wasn�t the pious young protagonist, Mrs De Winter, as some might expect, but rather the menacing middle-aged antagonist and head housekeeper of Manderley Estate � Mrs Danvers.
�She has the character parts that every female actor wants to play,� Bond said.
�It�s the mystery surrounding her. She is a really good sinister character � you don�t get the chance to play that very often.
�Female actors love playing either these characters or prostitutes because they are so removed from their real lives.�
A gothic-horror devotee, Bond never shies away from the unusual and macabre.
She directed Rebecca � penned by Daphne du Maurier in 1938 and brought to the big screen by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940 � 15 years ago for Melville Theatre Company and adds similarly chilling masterpieces, Wuthering Heights, Dracula and Frankenstein, to her long list of productions.
�The story of Rebecca is quite applicable to this day and age: a second wife coming into a house where the first wife used to be,� Bond said.
�Until Hitchcock did the film, it was read but not as widely. Then when he did the film, it made du Maurier a really popular and famous author.
�It�s a bit the same as Wuthering Heights, which was very widely read, but when they did the film adaptation everybody started to go back to the Bronte�s and read.�
Bond said her rendition, presented by Harbour Theatre, was true to the novel.
�There are many adaptations around. Du Maurier adapted it into her own stage play but it�s very old-fashioned and wordy so Clifford Williams readapted it in about 1990,� she said.
�Audiences of our production can really enjoy a trip back to one of our classic stories; full of romance and tension and plenty of atmosphere.
�And if they are expecting to see a good Mrs Danvers, they�ll certainly get a great one here.�
Where: Camelot Theatre, Mosman Park
When: June 12, 13, 15, 17, 19 and 20 at 7.30pm and matinees on June 14, 20 and 21 at 2pm
Tickets: www.TAZTix.com.au or 9255 3336