Suspense takes the stage in Theatre of Dare’s thriller ‘Bad Seed’

Published 4:59 pm Saturday, October 28, 2023

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A mysterious drowning, a missing medal and a seemingly perfect young girl. It all adds up to tension and drama in The Bad Seed, Theatre of Dare’s fall production, which opened October 27 in Kitty Hawk.

“I’ve always enjoyed the movie, and it’s a thrill to bring the original play to our stage,” said director Mary Ross. “The idea that an eight-year-old girl can be such an enigma to so many adults makes this play a fantastic thriller with a wonderful cast of characters.”

The play opens with Rhoda Penmark (Reese Zafris) preparing to go on her class picnic, even though a penmanship medal she believes she earned was given to a classmate. When that classmate ends up drowning, everyone assumes it’s a tragic accident, but as new details come to light, Rhoda’s mother Christine (Alana Hoare) and their apartment handyman Leroy (Michael Campbell) begin to suspect that Rhoda may be hiding a dark secret. A battle of wills ensues.

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The Bad Seed began as a 1954 novel by William March, which was quickly adapted into a popular Maxwell Anderson play that narrowly lost that year’s Pulitzer Prize to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. It then became a hit 1956 film starring Patty McCormack, which earned four Academy Award nominations.

“I love how this play slowly ratchets up the tension for Rhoda’s mother,” said Alana Hoare, who takes on the intensely emotional role of Christine. “Is it all in her head, or can her only child really be a cold-blooded killer? And if so, what can Christine do about it?”

Those are questions the audience will be asking as well. And answers will come when The Bad Seed takes the stage later this month.

The Bad Seed opened October 27, with additional showings on October 28 and November 2, 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m., and matinees on October 29 and November 5 at 2 p.m. at Theatre of Dare, located at 3848 N. Croatan Highway in Kitty Hawk. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and are available at