The ‘Woman in Black’ was written by Susan Hill in 1983, but was first published by Hamish Hamilton in 1983 as a hardback book. Most of the ideas for the ‘Woman in Black’ came from M.R James. In 1989, The ‘Woman in Black’ went onto television as a film thanks to a television writer called Nigel Kneal. In 1987, it became a stage play, and was first performed in Scarborough at the Theatre-by-the-sea. Then in 1989, the stage play moved to the Fortune theatre in London’s west end.
A young solicitor goes to stay at a house on the Nine lives causeway, and experiences lots of strange and scary noises and haunting as he goes through some of Mrs Drablows papers. The main haunting noise he hears is of a horse and cart that crashed, followed on by the severe screaming of a young child and a woman. One day Mr Kipps goes to a funeral, and sees a woman dressed in black with a pale and wasted face, standing amongst a group of young children. Mr Kipps realises there is more to Alice Drablow then he thought. In Crythin Gifford, nobody is happy to talk about the history of Mrs Drablow or the woman in black, for when they tried to find out, it caused them great pain and fear.Order now
When the solicitor talks to Mr Kipps, he finds out that Jennet Humfrye, sister to Mrs Drablow had a child, but could not look after it. So the baby boy was adopted by Mrs Drablow and her husband, who both insisted that the boy should never know that Jennet was his real mother. After a long while of Jennet trying to get contact with him, she was eventually allowed to be his nursemaid, as long as she never told him the truth. One day Jennets son was on a pony and trap going along the causeway, and it got lost and sunk into the marshes, which killed everybody on it. Jennet was looking out the window of Eel Marsh house, and saw this.
She died later and started to haunt Eel marsh house and Crythin Gifford with revenge. She was now known as the woman in black. According to local people there, if somebody saw the woman in black, the death of a child would occur later, and this did happen, when Arthur Kipps returned to London. He gets married and has a child. He goes to the fair one day with his wife, Stella and his child, and the wife and child decide to get on the pony and trap. Mr Kipps sees the woman in black once more, and the pony and trap crashes, killing the child and badly injuring Stella. Stella later dies.
The main characters in the ‘woman in black’ are: Arthur Kipps (Michael Burell) The actor (Dominic Marsh) The woman in black (Paul Shelley and Damien Matthews) On lesson one, the whole class gathered into a circle, and we turned the lights off. We were in the drama studio, and were gathered around a small paper fire lit up orange. The laptop was on playing lots of spooky and noises, making the class very tense and anxious. This was the day of Halloween, which made the tension build even higher, for we were expecting something to happen on Halloween. One by one we told ghostly experiences, and certain people kept saying they heard noises or saw white specks of light flying across the ceiling. Lots of suspension had been built up.
This caused everybody to cling to people beside them, for they became really paranoid. Then, about 10 minutes into the lesson, the door handle on the cupboard beside the entrance door had been placed down a little bit. This kept on happening every few minutes, which kept causing everybody to point, scream and gasp. I particularly felt extremely scared and paranoid, for I was sitting in a position in the circle where I was in front of it. Even though I was at a distance, I still felt terrified. Some people were so scared they were either really shaking or close to tears. I kept on hearing scratching noises, and could not stop looking behind me.
Stephanie Charles went to open the door, and it flew open, with a dark figure standing there in a white mask. We were absolutely petrified, and could not think about anything else, but to get as far away as possible. The main explorative strategy that went on was narration, which is when a character talks and tell the story to the audience, and what certain characters are about to do. This helped me to understand that it depends on how the narrator tells the story to make it scary, and how much tension and suspense that can be built up. It also helped me see that when your scared, you do not know what to do. This relates to the part in the ‘woman in black’ when Arthur saw the woman in black in the graveyard, and he just ran away for he was really frightened. This helps me to understand the play, because I now see that Arthur did not want to tell his wife about seeing the woman in black, for he knew his children would die one day when he saw her again.
On lesson two, we got into pairs, and told each other about our ghostly experiences. We chose the worst story, and got together with another pair, Sophie Moore and Stephanie Orford to act the story out. The worst story was Stephanie Charles, when she was doing a Ouija board with 3 other friends, and one of her friends fainted, because they felt the feelings of death.
The role play me, Stephanie Orphord and Sophie Moore played was the 3 friends who were participating, and Stephanie Charles did all the communication with the spiritual side, and putting all our forefingers on the glass, allowing it to be moved by the ghost. I also played the friend who fainted from feeling death. When we performed it on stage to everyone, we sat round in a circle, but made sure our backs were not facing the audience. We also left a gap in the circle, allowing the audience to see how we were acting out our fingers being moved when they were on the glass. This activity helped us to explore the idea of telling tales, because we realised how to build up suspension between us and the audience, and how curious mysterious situations made the audience. Adding in certain situations taught us on how to keep the audience watching, and how to surprise them when they least expect it.
Explorative strategies we used was role play, which is when a certain person takes on the role, situation, emotions and personality of a certain character. I used role play when I took the role of fainting. This helped me understand how dangerous and how terrifying doing something like a Ouija board is, and how it can go very wrong. It also helped me to understand the play, because it helped me see how worried and scared Arthur Kipps must have been when his child and wife died. This situation relates to me fainting, for it shows how petrified and worried my friends would have been for me.