‘Woman in Black’ play takes stage in Tahoe for limited run
Halloween is just around the corner: Get into the spirit with Valhalla Tahoe’s production of the play “The Woman in Black,” which takes over the venue’s Boathouse Theatre Friday through Sunday, Oct. 6-8, and Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 12-15.
Adapted from Susan Hill’s book of the same name, Stephen Mallatratt’s play follows Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, as he travels to the countryside to attend his former client’s funeral. While there Kipps is tasked with settling the client’s estate — but before his job is completed, he spots a mysterious woman in black, who is notorious in the village and believed to bring a terrible fate to those who see her.
The suspense unravels as Kipps explores the estate, finding that the dead won’t rest.
“It’s a lot of fun — it’s definitely a kind of bump-in-the-night story, and my goal is to get a shriek or two out of the audience during the performance,” director Rae Matthews said.
A mere two actors bring a mix of characters to life during the course of the show, which deviates from traditional productions of “The Woman in Black.”
“Usually there are two male actors, but in our case the best actors were a man and a woman. We figured out how to bend the roles so it worked for her to go into a male role, and it works rather beautifully — I actually have a hard time imagining the role as a man anymore,” Matthews noted.
Despite the role changes she describes the play’s plot being similar to that of the book, although the latter is more direct in its storytelling: According to Matthews, the play becomes a story within a story.
“The main setting is in the ’30s — that’s when the two actors are existing. We make use of that era in terms of props and costuming, as well as music… but the ghost is actually from an earlier period, which [the characters] reference. So the story of the ghost itself comes from an earlier period, the late Victorian era.
“Mostly it’s a reflection of the period, and that type of horror. The book is modern, but it’s written in the style of late Victorian literature, which is very gothic and bump-in-the-night as opposed to just straight horror. It’s more psychological suspense,” said Matthews.
She added that the Boathouse Theatre is the ideal place to house the show.
“[‘The Woman in Black’] is absolutely perfect for the space. The play itself is actually set in an old theater, which required me to do very little work as far as set is concerned,” she noted.
“The Woman in Black” is not recommended for children under the age of 13.
“It’s a little on the scary side, but also because of the time period a lot of [the content] will go over their heads. Teenagers would have a great time,” Matthews said.
Tickets, available through http://www.valhallatahoe.com, range from $15-$30. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m.