HOUSTON -- As Mrs. Manningham, the heroine of Angel Street, Patrick Hamilton's 1938 classic Victorian thriller that's currently being revived at the Alley Theatre in Houston, Shelley Williams must, in the course of an evening, go from unbalanced and helpless to sane and emboldened.
"My job is to piece together this woman's journey into self-knowledge," says Shelley, a member of the Alley resident acting company. "It's difficult to find the steps along the way because Hamilton doesn't tell us everything. I decided I'm at the bottom of the well at the beginning of the play. I have to get out by the end.
"My compatriots ensure that I stretch. We all know each other's tricks, so we try to keep each other off-guard, surprise each other, play with rhythms of lines, nuances of gestures. In Angel Street I lay myself really wide open so vulnerabilities can be attacked."
Angel Street continues through Feb. 7. For tickets, $31 - $46, call (713) 228-8421.
-- By Peter Szatmary