Woman in Black

Posted on 5th Apr 2022

The Woman in Black Theatre Trip

On Wednesday the 16th of March, drama students took a bus to London to watch the chilling play of The Woman in Black. Based on the book written by Susan Hill in 1983, the piece is a play within a play, exploring the horrifying encounter that Arthur Kipps had while away for work at Eel Marsh House. In the play, Arthur Kipps has hired an actor to help him overcome the perpetual night terrors he has experienced since his stay at the house. The performance brings the audience along on the journey that Kipps took, allowing them to understand how this was not any old ghost story. A twist was revealed at the very end of the play, leaving the audience feeling unsettled and uncomfortable. During the entire performance, the onlookers were kept on the edge of their seats, awaiting countless jump scares and moments of terror. The small size of the Fortune Theatre contributed to the eerie atmosphere, capturing the audience, and confining them to a tiny space as a reminder that they could not escape!

The performance was carefully crafted, with limited set to enable the performance to flow flawlessly from one scene to the next while also being enough to allow the audience to imagine where it all was taking place. Due to this limited set, the performance relied on lighting and sound to create a tense environment within the theatre. Spotlights, red lighting, knocking, and symbols displayed upon the back curtain proved to students that you can do a lot with little and still convey a particular tone or place. Moreover, the back curtain became transparent under certain lights, building the set out further and creating distance between the viewers and the actors, making them feel helpless if the Woman in Black were to appear. Furthermore, the switch in and out of the ‘play’ helped to build a false sense of security and confuse the audience as to what was reality. Along with limited set, the play only consisted of two characters and the Woman in Black. By using very few actors, the audience built more of a rapport with each character and created an attachment, making the performance even more emotional. In addition to this, it helped the Woman in Black stand out more. The group went in knowing that she was the only other actor left to appear in the play, thus making us all hyperaware of when she would appear.

Overall, the 2-hour play did not disappoint in creating a tense and petrifying atmosphere. However, some scenes did become slightly lost during the switch between what was a recount and what was meant to be reality. Despite this, in some sense it made the jump scares even more unexpected and made the audience feel the sense of fear even more. It cannot be denied that the play left many of the group shaken up, waiting for the ghost of Jennet Humfrye (the Woman in Black) to appear behind us as she did Arthur Kipps. The performance lingers with you much longer once you find out that it was all based on a true story...

Beth – Year 11

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