Ernest Power taking 'Saw' from film to the stage in Corner Brook

Diane Crocker
Published on March 6, 2014
Ernest Power is the director of “Let the Game Begin: A Saw Tribute Show,” which pays homage to one of his favourite horror franchises. He brings his vision to the stage Friday and Saturday at the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Centre.
Star photo by Cory Hurley

Ernest Power was a "young teenager" when the movie "Saw" came out in 2004 and remembers watching it with some friends.
"I just became fascinated with how smart it was," said Power. "It was a very original idea at the time."

While he enjoys horror films, Power said he wasn't one of these guys who "just liked gore or blood just for the sake of it. I appreciate a good story. And that's what the first film really was for me. It was a piece of art."

Power said the second film was just as good, but since then they've become more about the gore.

Still, he remains a big fan of the franchise. So much so that adapting the original film by James Wan and Leigh Whannel for the stage has been something he's wanted to do for years.

About six years ago he and Steve Perchard, former president and a founding member of the Off-Broadway Players, discussed how that could potentially happen.

It was an idea that Power ran with, and since then he has submitted his ideas for the production to Off-Broadway for consideration more than once. Instead of letting the rejection get him down, he continued to plug away at the idea.

"Year by year I developed how to adapt it for the stage more and more."

This year he was finally successful in his efforts at convincing the board of Off-Broadway that it could be done, and he is now directing the local theatre company's production of "Let the Game Begin: A Saw Tribute Show."

To bring the movie to the stage, Power found a script online that was faithful to the film and adapted it. He said he worked hard at figuring out what would work and what wouldn't in the transition.

"The easiest thing to adapt for the stage was the setting, the bathroom," said Power of the one setting needed for the play.

It is in that bathroom that two strangers - Dr. Gordon, played by Ryan Dwyer, and Adam, played by Brandon Hillier - find themselves chained on opposite ends of the rooms by their ankles. To escape, they are each given a hacksaw - along with horrifying instructions from their captor.

It's the traps laid out for the characters that Power found the hardest to adapt and he came up with some alternatives.

"I just got a little bit creative at times when things were impossible to translate," he said, adding he prefers to keep just how he did that a secret for now.

But he does give props to the show's props guy, Sheldon Parsons, for having "just as twisted a mind as I do."

Overall, Power thinks the audience will be satisfied with the production.

The show will be staged this weekend at the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Centre. Showtime is at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. While there is no age restriction on the show, it is not recommended for younger audiences.