By Dale Bacar
Imagine this if you will: you are watching two stage actors playing a myriad of dreary characters on an almost bare stage inside a small, nearly pitch-black theater.
Suddenly, a malevolent ghost pops up on stage.
A horrible chill goes down your spine; your newfound fear of a “woman in black” grips your darkest imagination.
“The Woman in Black,” a stage adaptation of the 1983 novel by Susan Hill, is set years after the haunting experiences of young lawyer Arthur Kipps at the Eel Marsh House, where he was commissioned to sort through paper records of a reclusive widow.
The play opens with the troubled older Kipps who has been wanting to make sense of his previous paranormal experiences by hiring an actor to reenact the harrowing events with him.
Kipps’ story is presented with minimal sets and props; but stage director William Elvin Manzano is able to set a mood far more terrifying than what a big Hollywood movie can simulate.
This stage adaptation, written by Stephen Mallatratt, delivers tangible horrors that creep in when you least expect it. Surrounded by dimmed lights and fog effects, we are instantly transported, along with the show’s characters, to that isolated house in the middle of the marsh; and we feel as trapped and helpless as the actors.
A stellar performance by Jeremy Domingo (“American Hwangap,” “Hamlet Redux") anchors the production as the older Kipps. By merely changing his jacket, for instance, Domingo effortlessly shifts from one character to the next; this gifted actor brings the audience along for a roller coaster ride of emotions and new discoveries.
Reb Atadero (“Bare,” “Rizal X”), who plays the role of the hired actor, provides competent support to his co-actor.
“The Woman in Black,” produced by Dulaang Kalay, a campus-based theater organization of Kalayaan College, and Word of Mouth Theater Philippines, returns to Teatrino at Promenade, Greenhills on Friday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20.
For tickets, contact Ted Guayco at (63) 935-133-2893.