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The Woman In Black Essay

1789 words - 7 pages

Claire Hudson 9904339 December 2001 Theatre Visit Essay Is this theatre event an example of holy theatre, rough theatre, immediate theatre or deadly theatre according to the use of these terms in Peter Brooks book "The Empty Space"? The event may be a mixture of the above.Justify your answer with reference to what is communicated by this event, how it is communicated and the effectiveness of the communication.In this essay I will be discussing the Play "The Woman in Black" in relation to Peter Brooks "The Empty Space". This essay will argue that The Woman in Black is a form of Holy theatre with hints of the deadly and the rough theatre.The Woman in Black is a play adapted from the book of the same name by Susan Hill. The interesting approach the play has, is that it looks incredible simplistic, for instance the set is an old theatre stage with a hamper a table and two old chairs as the only props. There are only two actors (excluding the ghost) who play seven parts between them both. I found this at first surprising, as The Woman in black is a story that takes place in many big, very grand and ornate locations a huge manor house wide moors and a never ending foggy sea. We don't see that the stage is cleverly split into two parts- front stage where the first part of the action is performed and behind a huge screen is another part of the stage where a lot of the effects are created giving the audience the feeling that they are in different parts of the country and of Eel marsh House. It is the sound and lighting design that brings the audiences imagination alive, sound is used to shock the audience making the hairs on the back of their neck stand up and with the combination of excellent lighting design we have no problem suspending our disbelief. In "The Theory of Modern Stage" Eric Bentley states: "Light can play as directly upon our emotions as music does. We are more immediately affected by our sensitiveness to variations of light in theatre than we are by our sensations of colour, shape or sound." The audience is taken in and out of the story, which is being acted out by the theatre director and the solicitor "Arthur Kipps". There are two stories happening simultaneously one of the troubled solicitor and the woman in black and the story of them acting the story out. The story is brought to our attention with recorded sound design when the hamper is turned into a pony and trap we hear the sounds of the pony whinnying and the clip-clop of the hooves.The woman in black is a long running west-end play that has had a lot of commercial success. As it is a horror story and its popularity is partly in its shock value and sensationalistic reviews I think it can fit into what Peter Brook calls Deadly Theatre but it is not "bad" theatre. For me it was an excellent 2hrs entertainment, I wasn't bored at any point I didn't have to pretend to be interested in it. I think this play can fit in to a form of Holy theatre due to it's way of sound and light craft...

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