News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
Play presents a chilling tale at downtown Fredericksburg library
The Rude Mechanicals and the Fredericksburg Festival for the Performing Arts will bring a shock of mystery and dread to viewers with the chilling tale “The Woman in Black.”
The popular play has run in London for more than 20 years and was adapted into a film in 2012 starring Daniel Radcliffe. Now “The Woman in Black” will be coming to Fredericksburg for three nights during the first weekend in November.
“The Woman in Black” follows the story of Arthur Kipps, a man who is staying at the Eel Marsh House in the small English town of Crythin Gifford. There, people have strange accidents after seeing a vengeful ghost dressed all in black.
“[Kipps] tells [his story] to exorcise it and get people to hear his story. The play is acting out that story, so it’s a play within a play,” said director Fred Franklin, who is also artistic director of the Rude Mechanicals.
Kipps is soon surrounded by a gloomy mystery and seeping dread as he becomes immersed in the story of the Woman in Black. Dangers of all kinds haunt Kipps after he sees the Woman in Black, who haunts his desolate and isolated house.
“They’re all the things that have always scared people,” said Franklin about the play.
Rehearsals for the play occur almost daily and started about a month ago, he said.
There are three actors in the production—Levi Shrader, Marcus Salley and Rachel Simpson. Salley appears as the older Arthur Kipps who tells his story, with Shrader as an actor in the show portraying him as a younger version, creating a play within a play. Salley has other parts as well, performing other characters in “The Woman in Black.” Rounding out the cast is Simpson as the Woman in Black, who sometimes appears onstage in a black veil.
According to Franklin, much of the gloom and dread of the story itself will be played out on the set through light and sound effects. Three University of Mary Washington students work on the sound effects for the show, and there are set pieces including a chair that rocks back and forth by itself.
The set of the play is an old theater, where Kipps’ story is played out and where “the audience themselves become a spectral aspect and part of [the play],” according to Shrader.
According to Saundra Pearson, president of the FFPA, “The Woman in Black” is a co-production of the FFPA and the Rude Mechanicals, who have partnered for multiple plays for the past year.
“It’s a joint sponsorship to produce and offer theater performance in the Fredericksburg community at a very low ticket price,” said Pearson.
Admission for the play is at the door and is $10, or $5 for students.
“We want to make it affordable for young people and families,” said Pearson.
This spine-chiller opens at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library Theater on Friday, Nov. 1, at 7:30 p.m. and plays the following two nights, Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 3 at 6 p.m.
WANT TO GO?
What: “The Woman in Black,” presented by Rude Mechanicals and the Fredericksburg Festival for the Performing Arts
Where: The Central Rappahannock Regional Library, 1201 Caroline St., Fredericksburg
When: Friday, Nov. 1, and Saturday, Nov. 2, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 3, at 6 p.m.
Cost: $10, $5 for students
Note: Appropriate for ages 14 and above
Info: 540/374-5040; fredfest.org
Alison Thoet: 540/374-5444 / firstname.lastname@example.org