Drama Women in Black Review

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The Woman in Black is a 1987 stage play, adapted by Stephen Mallatratt. The play is based on the book of the same name, which was written in 1983 by Susan Hill. The venue for the woman in black was the fortune theatre in London and we went there on the 1st of November 2011. The Theatre from outside appears small old and slightly neglected, inside there was no attempt to prepare one for or indeed set the atmosphere for the nature of the play. The Fortune is small and the intimacy between actor and audience was brought out well by the fact that the furthest seats can only have been 15m away. The theatre is of Victorian style with ornate decorations and red carpets and seating, this instantly transport me to the era in which the play is set in the 19th century. The stage is open for the audience to see before the play starts and is set out as the stage in a small theatre, a basket for props, two chairs, a rack of costumes and buckets catching water from a leaky roof. The most important part of the set though was the gauze at the back of the stage separating a separate scene behind and revealing it hen needed using lighting. This combination of props and structure conveys the location strongly to the audience without being so defined that it is not possible to change the scene. While we waited there was no background music which gave a slightly eerie edge to the wait.

The play started in the theatre depicted on the stage and almost immediately the humour as Mr Kipps’s is reading his memoirs and you don’t think it is going to be horror at all and I think this could be done to lulled the audience into a false sense of security which made shocks later in the play a lot more effective. The most important element of the play I feel was the lighting the spotlights was used to great effect and to draw attention to their facial expressions. Also it allowed the gauze to be rendered opaque or see through at the click of a switch which enabled the stage hands to change set...
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