My GCSE Drama group went to see ‘The Woman in Black’ at the Fortune Theatre in London on the 15th of January 2011 . The play is adapted by Stephen Mallatratt but was based on original novel by Susan Hill. Summary: The Woman in black is a chilling tale of obsession, death and unforgettable horror. It tells the story of a middle aged solicitor called Arthur Kipps, who, years earlier, had lost his infant son following his horrifying experience in an old mansion, owned by the late Alice Drablow, the remote English town of Cryffin Gifford. As a solicitor, he visits the house to sort various different types of paper work.
In an effort to try and confront personal demons and ghosts, he appoints a young actor to attempt to transform his written account into a practical re-enactment. The story is portrayed as an allusion, with Mr. Kipps playing multiple roles, and the young actor playing a younger Kipps. As the story unfolds, the character of the Woman in Black appears more frequently as supposedly “just an actress.” Characters: Arthur Kipps, also plays: Tomes, the solicitor’s clerk, Bentley, the solicitor, Samuel Dailey, a local businessman, Pub landlord, Jerome, a local man, Keckwick, Alice Drablow, the deceased woman Young Actor, also plays: the Young Mr Kipps Jennet Humfrye, Alice’s sister and the Woman In Black Nathaniel Humfrye, Jennet’s son, who was adopted by Alice and her husband. 1. The fortune theatre: As soon as you walked into the theatre, there was a tense atmosphere. It was small meaning that we were closer to the action, and got to witness the Woman in Black walk right past you in the isles, this is a very frightening memory that will stay with you long after the play has finished.
The mixture of an old style theatre and completely black stage added to our knowledge that the woman in black is notoriously scary and caused massive tension even before the show had started, a moment that stood out to me was when The Woman in Black glided past the isles, scaring all the people on the end of the isles, this is where the small Fortune Theatre played a great part in creating the a live experience close up.
Show: The play itself was incredibly chilling, with massive “build- up’s” of tension and a web of intertwining mystery, gradually unwinding along with explosions of terror. These key factors are (in my opinion) what makes W in B so effective and memorable. The Key points of; memorable tension, outstanding performance and large importance are to follow: Act one: The first key build up of tension was actually very subtle and quite small, although still massively important. It occurred on the train with Mr. Kipps embarking on his journey to Cryffin Gryfford. He is sat opposite.
Costume: one of the costumes used in ‘Woman in Black’ that I found most effective was when ‘the actor’ changed to the bartender, and with small prop of an apron, it has changed the body language of the character whilst not keeping the audience waiting between the character changes. The Woman in Black has long scary dark clothes, and fits the character perfectly; the costumes have a big part in the play because by a use of a hat or a walking stick, it will totally change the body language and the mindset of the character. So the costumes play a huge part, and although it may be simple, it brings the audience into this play. Having these cheap minor props and costume, it made all sense to this play, because of course this play lets the audience know this is all an act, so it doesn’t matter as much about being realistic.
‘The Woman I Black’ uses a certain amount of Mise en scene, by making it a dark atmosphere it appears scarier, also there were no bright moments in the play meaning there was no happy moment, or even intended happy moments. The dark and gloomy lighting made it all the scarier, and all the more relative to the play. The stage was raked meaning it really bringed the performance closer to the audience giving a more intimate feel.
This also made the performance visible for all the audience members regardless of how far back, or high up, they are sitting. Having a raked staged, it linked to the crooked floors in certain scenes, and certain rooms in the play. There was no use of music in Woman in Black, due to the set of this play, but the play made the most out of the few sound effects used. The sound effects used in woman un black our used to the full advantage of the surroundings.