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Arthur Kipps, a solicitor from London, decides to hire a profession actor to aid him in retelling a ghostly event that happened to him many years before and which lead to tragic circumstances to his family. In the cluttered, Victorian stage, Kipps begins to read his manuscript; slowly, awkwardly and somewhat un-interestingly at first, but the actor helps him transform the manuscript into a full blown performance in which he takes on many roles and narrates.
The hired actor plays the somewhat younger Kipps, sent to a remote part of shire (often used in Victorian plays), Crythin Gifford, to attend the funeral of and sort out the papers of Mrs Alice Drablow. Mrs Drablow lived in Eel Marsh house, a lonely isolated residence, and cut off from the mainland most of the time by the tide. In this house Kipps encounters the Woman in Black, a ghost seeking revenge for the death of her young child that was taken away from her.
The woman haunts Kipps and a few years later carries out a curse and Kipps loses his wife and child. There is one final twist in the play, when the actor and old Kipps act out the play a woman plays the part of the Woman in Black, The real Kipps doesn’t see her so is oblivious to the fact that she is there. The actor sees her and thinks that she is the surprise that the real Kipps had said that he had for the actor, but the real Kipps didn’t know anything about her and in fact it Is the real woman in black. The Task
When working on The Woman in Black we were set the task of getting into groups of three and then selecting a section of the play to work on. My group decided to choose pages twenty eight to thirty one as we felt that these pages would enable everyone in the group to participate and also enabled us to show the audience many different emotions. In the pages we selected, Kipps has been left on his own in Eel Marsh House and has just had his second encounter with the woman in black. He decides to put it out of his mind and sets about searching through the papers in the house.
He then decides to walk back to Crythin Gifford but gets caught by a sudden fog, he turns back and on the way he hears a pony and trap draw near and he thinks Keckwick (the driver) has come to pick him up. Just as he thinks he will hear it he hears the horse startle, the trap go in the marsh and a small child screaming. He rushes back to Eel Marsh House quickly where he goes around the house putting on every light possible. He does this but comes to a door which will not open so he kicks and punches it and finally sliding to the floor and a deep sleep.
He is awoken by the front door and when he opens it he is extremely surprised to see Keckwick, he asks Keckwick about it and Keckwick is oblivious to it and denies all knowledge. Working On The Woman in Black When we were first presented with the task we decided to use a number of explorative strategies to aid us in getting a better understanding of the characters. When first read the woman in black can seem a pretty daunting task, it is easy to get the real actor and the part of the actor that the real Kipps plays mixed up.
As it is set in the Victorian era the dialect is quite different than of modern day, however this does not prove too greater a task as it is quite easy to pick up. The mixture of comedy and horror is a difficult task but The Woman In Black manages to achieve this confidently. You do not expect a horror to contain any comedy but the play only implements it in scenes with a lighter mood as not to spoil the tension and horror in the play. The Woman in Black uses the stage extremely well, the stage directions enable the performers to stretch the audiences imagination to the limit without losing any of the quality that the play provides.
When we were first given this play my first thoughts that it would be a drab, uninteresting, old play which would not provide enough energy to produce anything with. But after reading through the script I had changed my mind completely, without even seeing a production of the play the suspense and dread that is entwined into the plot together with the stage directions enabled me to visage the entire play. This undoubtedly is a great feat for any play to accomplish.