The Narrator/Mr Kipps is convincible as he changes from these characters very effectively and believably; for example he changes his accents from a country accent to a city one. He also changes his movements as he changes character, an example of this would be for the old man he walks slower. The actor who played ‘the woman in black’ didn’t appear much throughout the play, but this added to the whole feeling of suspense and drama because when she did appear it was scary.
If she had appeared more often the fear and spookiness she created amounst the audience would have disappeared. In my opinion, I think the dictector of the play had her on stage in just the right balance, because the blood-chilling effect wasn’t lost when she appeared and he left the audience wanting more – which is always a good way to end it in. Her costume and make-up was extremely scary but also very simple, she wore a plain black cloak and had a pale, wasted face with dark, shadowy eyes. The contrast of the pastey white and black eyes worked really well together.
The lighting was extremely effective because it was very naturalistic combined with dramatic lighting at some points during the story, although the stage didn’t have much light. When Mr. Kipps and the drama coach were in the theatre trying to improve the play, the lighting was very naturalistic but when some scary scenes came they were very dramatic-the lights would flash or go red; this use of light was effective. As the stage wasn’t lit up much it gave a really good effect of dusk. This really increased the tension in the horror scenes such as the gauze created a spooky silhouette of the childs nursery and also when there was a blackout on the stage and the Mr Kipps turns on his tourch and the Woman in Black’s face is directly in the light of the tourch. On some occasions the light flashed and strengthened the anxiety of the expectations of the audience.
There was a use of blackouts which allowed actors to change characters effectively which added to believability for audience in imagining different characters an example of this would be when the changing of the Narrator to the Driver of horse and carriage. Dimmed Lighting was a constant theme throughout the play; the lighting would go very dark when anything haunting happened or anything ghostly was about to happen. As the stage continually went dark the audience learned to expect a scare which added to the build-up and suspense. The blackouts also acted as a cover which meant that the actors could creep onto stage unnoticed before making the intended sudden appearance. A spotlight was also used which focussed light as a narrow beam of light to follow movement of actor this focussed the attention on the actor over the narrator for example in the scene where actor in bed.
The sound effects were used appropriately and helped build the tension by creating apprehension. The sound effect of the horse and carriage and the scream was used as a really good motif, more so it made the audience scream themselves hearing the screams in the sound track than the actual acting. The effects of the lighting and sound had a huge impact on the whole performance and gave just the right atmosphere whether it was gripping, eerie, spooky or just normal. The series of recorded sounds such as the blood-curdling screams were effective and sudden which were used to scare and shock the audience.
The horses pulling cart which were heard before scream made the audience learn to associate this with impending scream which added to the suspense because they knew a ‘scare’ was approaching but they just couldn’t work out when. In some cases the sound legitimise the statement of location such as in the graveyard the sound of ravens was associated to haunting atmosphere of the scary location which made it realistic for audience and added tension. Build-up to scary moment The heartbeat sounds prepared the audience for a scare but they didn’t know when or what was going to happen, this built to the atmosphere and was hugely effective.
On the gauze at the back of the stage there was a projection of pictures to help the audience recognise where the characters were meant to be at any one time in the play. For instance, when they were in the church there was a cross projected on the gauze and when Mr. Kipps went to Mrs Drablow’s house there was a picture of an old looking, creepy mansion projected on the gauze. I think that the projector was a clever idea because it reflected what was being performed on stage.
The play had a good structure and the tempo was up beat. In the second half of the play one of the most significant climaxes was when Mr Kipps was lying in bed, there was a dim light, an errie silence and the tension was dense, then suddely the noise of creaking from rocking chair filled the stalls. This made the audience anxious and nervous because it was completely unexpected and built a lot of tension. As not much was happening, it seemed to be calm but it actually created the ‘less is more’ effect and the chair kept rocking building the climax to a high. The first part of the play was intentially boring to really emphasises the and climax the events that happen in the second part.
The play had an interesting, fast pace story line with lots of twists and suprises which made it all the more exiting to watch. The story was very unpredictable and at moments surprised you, when you least expexted it. The end of the play was really unexpected and ends in a cliff hanger, which leaves the audience to imagine a personal ending for themseleves. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the performance the mistery, scaryness and clever plot really grabbed me; the whole atmosphere felt great to be part of. The acting and dramatic effects created lots of suspence and increased many heart rates. I went into theatre thinking ‘how could live drama scare me?’, this play has completely changed my veiws on horror in theatre and anyone who thinks the same should definitely take a trip and go see this blood-chilling, spine-tingling, horror-exploring performance.