For a tongue-in-cheek

For a tongue-in-cheek

It’s difficult to create terror in an audience at Qualicum Beach

The strength of Echo Player's production of The Woman in Black is in the acting performances

There is nothing like a good old fashioned ghost story to get you in the mood for Halloween — the current Echo Players production delivers a classic with a few twists and surprises.

The Woman in Black is touted as a theatrical spine chiller that will have you on the edge of your seat the moment the curtain rises, but there is no need to avoid the Village Theatre if you are a scaredy-cat.

Opening night didn’t provoke screams or gasps from the audience and while the play didn’t come across as hair raising, it is definitely a theatrical rarity.

Directed by Sue Murguly, the play itself is captivating even without the fear factor.

With brilliant acting by the two main characters, the play relies on the art of good old fashioned story telling, the kind you might hear while sitting around a campfire.

With a few props and some sound effects, the play has just two main actors to create an illusion for the audience. In an age where the computer-generation has taken over, it’s refreshing to go back to basics.

There are no stunning costumes or lavish sets and the sound designer plays a huge role in bringing Victorian streets and galloping horses to life.

Although I was expecting a real nail biter I left the theatre with all of my finger nails intact and an appreciation for how difficult it is to create terror in live theatre.

Unlike the big screen where directors use editing and special effects to get your heart racing, stage directors must rely on the actors to incite chills.

The strength of this play comes from first rate performances by Gary Davey and Mort Paul both appearing by permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.

The fact that there are only these two actors playing numerous characters makes the play very unique but the audience must fully engage their brain and imagination if they want to experience a ghostly night in the theatre.

The story starts out simply enough.  The earnest young solicitor Arthur Kipps leaves cosmopolitan London for the mysterious Eel Marsh House in the remote town of Crythin Gifford.

He has been asked to attend the funeral of one of his firm’s clients, the reclusive Mrs. Alice Drablow, and finalize the dead woman’s affairs.

What he comes across, however, will leave its mark on him for years to come, and as an older, greyer man (Davey), he will turn to a bright-eyed Actor (Paul), bursting with charm and enthusiasm, to exorcise ghosts both emotional and real – through a retelling of his experience.

With a comic flare, Kipps and the actor banter back and forth about just how excruciating the long mumbled manuscript would be for an audience to endure.  Finally, the actor convinces Kipps not only to turn the story into theatre, but also to let him, the actor, play the young Mr. Kipps of the story.

At first, the play seems to drag on as the two characters argue as to whether or not the retelling of The Woman in Black is possible but this is purposely and skilfully done to lull the audience into a false sense of security.

The elder Kipps begins the journey of reliving his past with great hesitation, but soon slips into the shoes of the host of colourful characters he encounters along the way with the hired Actor playing a younger version of himself.

Davey does a stellar job portraying the various characters Paul’s young Mr. Kipps encounters on his visit to the English Moor.  From a snuffling clerk to a taciturn horseman, Davey makes each character unique allowing the audience to keep the story clear.

Paul has the challenge of transporting the audience into the scary house and he does so with highly engaging story telling.

The contrast between the characters of the actor, whose name is never stated, and the elder Kipps provides the audience with a glimpse into the past, so to speak, as the two roles slowly become inverted. The actor, who begins re-enacting the events of Kipps’ manuscript becomes more acquainted with the ghost of Kipps past than he is aware of.

With just hints, glimpses and suggestions on what is shadowy, heard and sometimes only half-seen including The Woman who is performed by Diane LeBlanc it is up to the audience to unravel the mystery.

The spirit of the show is a murky ghost story and is an ode to the art of storytelling and the theatre allowing those who accept the premise to be engaged.

 

 

Just Posted

(PQB News file photo)
Oceanside RCMP on the hunt for reported Rathtrevor flasher

Two separate incidents noted at provincial park on April 30 and May 14

A fledgling white raven was spotted near the end of Winchester Road in Coombs. (Mike Yip photo)
Legend continues as iconic white raven spotted once again in Coombs

Sightings rare everywhere in world except for central Vancouver Island location

Checking through social media feeds can be an interesting exercise. (Black Press Media file photo)
WOLF: Mr. Rogers would be proud of this friendly day in the neighbourhood

COLUMN: Residents quick to offer assistance for person coming off surgery

The boardwalk at the Parksville Community Park is frequented by walkers, runners and even hoverboard users. (Michael Briones photo)
Challenge offers Parksville area residents a chance to become a Legend of the Boardwalk

ORCA member encourages people to take part in fun activity

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10 million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10 million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

(PQB News file photo)
RCMP on the hunt for serial Rathtrevor Beach flasher

Two separate incidents noted at provincial park on April 30 and May 14

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

(Kamloops This Week)
Puppy’s home in question as BC Supreme Court considers canine clash

Justice Joel Groves granted an injunction prohibiting the sale or transfer of the dog

Protesters seen here rallying against the injunction order on April 1. (Black Press Media file photo)
RCMP enforce injunction at Fairy Creek logging blockade near Port Renfrew

Protesters can remain but police will ensure open access for loggers

Kayak the humpback whale was found dead on a Haida Gwaii beach on Saturday, May 15, 2021. (Marine Education and Research Society)
Kayak the humpback whale found dead on Haida Gwaii beach

Whale was estimated to be only 18 years old

Then-finance minister Kevin Falcon presents his last B.C. budget, Feb. 21, 2012. The province was emerging from the 2009-10 recession and repaying federal incentive to cancel the harmonized sales tax. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Political veteran Kevin Falcon set for second run at B.C. Liberal leadership

Vancouver MLA Michael Lee announces on the same day

The bow-legged bear was seen roaming 2nd Avenue on Friday, May 7 and again in Brown Drive Park on May 13. (Submitted photo)
Bow-legged Ladysmith bear euthanized after vet examination

CO Stuart Bates said the bear had obvious health issues

Most Read