The Woman in Black. By Stephen Mallatratt, adapted from the book by Susan Hill.
Directed by James Scott. Honest Puck Theatre. The Perform Australia Theatre, 11 Whyalla Street, Fyshwick. stagecenta.com or 6253 1454.
Director James Scott says the ghost story The Woman in Black "makes the theatre a scary place".
And people like being scared: the play opened in London in 1989 and is still running, the second-longest running West End production after Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap.
Structured as a play within a play, also a challenge to capture on stage, Scott says.
"There are, of course things, effects that will be achieved with lighting and sound, but this production is very much driven by the skill of the actors on the stage, with simple props and costumes at their disposal."
The aim is to give people a genuinely frightening experience.
He says, "The Woman In Black takes the audience on a journey into the private life of an individual nursing a history of horror. As such, it sends a chill down your spine."
... this production is very much driven by the skill of the actors on the stage...- James Scott
Scott also plays the role of Arthur Kipps, an elderly lawyer.
He is trying to exorcise a traumatic experience from his younger days, that's haunted him for decades, by dramatising it.
Kipps hires a young actor (Brendan Kelly) to assist him in rehearsing the play in a theatre, with the ultimate aim of telling the tale to his family.
Kelly plays the younger Kipps and Kipps himself plays all the other parts in the re-enactment of events. Fifty years ago, the young Kipps went to the town of Crythin Gifford to go through the papers of a client, the recently deceased Mrs Drablow.
He begins to see the mysterious Woman in Black and when he reaches Mrs Drablow's house, strange noises and movements further unsettle him.
He discovers some of the history of the Woman in Black but it does nothing to settle his nerves and the terror for him keep building.
In the theatre, the older Kipps and the young actor have some frightening experiences while re-enacting the story.
The aim is that the audience will, too.
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