One of the most popular plays ever written will take to the stage of Hendry Hall in time for All Hallow’s Eve when North Vancouver Community Players present The Woman In Black.
This chilling ghost story adapted for the stage by Stephen Mallatratt from the novel by Susan Hill, has been haunting the stage of London’s West End since 1989 (www.thewomaninblack.com) making it the second longest running drama on the English stage after The Mousetrap. The novel is also being turned into a new motion picture starring Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame — the movie opens in February (www.womaninblack.com).
“This is a great ghost story in the vein of Henry James, H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe,” says director Randy Poulis, who among his many directing credits also counts another ghost story — Hugh Leonard’s Da.
“While, at worst, the ghost in Da may be considered vexing, in The Woman In Black the ghost is absolutely evil,” explains Poulis. “And, as much as the play is a story of a young solicitor uncovering a dark mystery in a small seaside village, it is also the story of how that evil came to be and is, in being, still.”
Adapted for the stage in 1987 by Mallatratt; the big change from the novel is Mallatratt created a play (the story of the solicitor) within a play as he set the story in a Victorian theatre.
“You can’t beat Hendry Hall in Vancouver as the setting for a Victorian theatre,” says Poulis of the 70-seat performance space built in 1942 that the NorthVan Players call home. “This is the ideal space for this ghost story to be told because you’re up close and personal with any spirit that chooses to make an appearance.”
In its original stage incarnation, director Robert Hereford put his finger on why The Woman In Black has been so successful on stage when he said, “It is the magic of theatre made possible only by that most precious and under-used commodities, the audience’s imagination.”
The production stars Kurtis Maguire and Robert Sidley. Sound design is by Anne Marsh, Lighting Design by Randy Poulis, Costume Design by Beatrijs Brett, Set Design by Glynnis Brassil, and Make-Up Design by Britt Schottelius.
The Woman In Black opens Friday, Oct. 21 and the run continues Oct. 22, Oct. 26-29, and Nov. 2-5. Preview night is Thursday, Oct. 20. Tickets are available online at www.northvanplayers.ca or call 604-983-2683.
To arrange media interviews, contact Director Randy Poulis, 604-666-1693 (day) 604-222-0595 (evenings).
What the critics have said:
Prepare to be haunted by one of the best horror stories you will ever see on stage. — Daily Express
The show . . . is one of the most brilliantly effective spine-chillers you will ever encounter. — The Daily Telegraph
The atmosphere is so charged-up that on more than one occasion the entire audience screamed in terror. — The Independent