By Wendy Rosenfield

FOR THE INQUIRER

Let's play a word association game: if I say "Mister Man," what image comes to mind? How about "hobbling?" "Dirty birdie?" For much of the moviegoing public, these associations end at the 1990 film adaptation of Stephen King's thriller Misery, with Kathy Bates' deranged nurse and "number-one fan" Annie Wilkes looming over James Caan as her bedbound prisoner, romance author Paul Sheldon. Bates' Oscar-winning performance also looms large over Bucks County Playhouse's world premiere stage play Misery, also adapted from King's novel, and that's exactly the problem with this production.