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CSUSM presents ‘The Woman in Black’

Dylan McCall, Staff Writer

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“I am not a performer — I have no pretensions to be — nor inclination — but — those terrible things that happened to me — they must — I have to — let them be told. For my health and reason.”

In this quote, Arthur Kipps, one of the main characters of “The Woman in Black: A Ghost Adapted Play”, talked about the relevance of his tragedy and that the delivery of his manuscript was of little importance. This quote begins to split the play between real time, with the actor and an old Mr. Kipps, and the past, with a young Mr. Kipps and other characters.

The CSUSM Arts and Lectures series presented the play by Nigel Stephen Mallatratt, based on the novel by Susan Hill from Sept. 15 to Sept. 17.

San Diego actors Eric Poppick and Jason Heil dramatize the manuscript of a young Arthur Kipps, whose ghastly encounters in the old English town of Crythin Gifford had greatly affected his life.

The play begins in a young actor’s theatre where an old Arthur Kipps, played by Eric Poppick, is awkwardly reading his manuscript. The young actor, of which Mr. Kipps hired, encourages him to act out his manuscript despite Mr. Kipps’ reluctance.

Throughout the play, the young actor, played by Jason Heil, casts himself as a middle age Arthur Kipps and dramatizes his journey to Crythin Gifford. With the Woman in Black haunting him, Mr. Kipps attempts to sort the private papers of a recently departed Mrs. Drablow in her house across the marsh. Arthur Kipps’ story tells of tragedy and loss with hopes that by sharing his story, the Woman in Black would rest in peace.

Hans Vermy, a CSUSM lecturer and lighting designer for the play, said, “I wanted to do this play because a ghost play is challenging. The scene, the cast, the characters; it’s like building a Halloween costume.”

Despite limited spacing, the production crew worked hard to capture the cryptic setting of the play which many believed they did.

Overall, the production crew and cast did a wondrous job with the characters, the scene, and costumes; their goal for the play was simple enough. Backstage and assistant stage manager, Dominique Duren said, “[there is] no moral in the play, it’s meant to spook and creep out the audience. [We wanted] to bring people something they’ve never experienced.”

With the Woman in Black kicking off the school year, the CSUSM theatre department is working on their next show for October. The Bald Soprano, by Eugene Ionesco, will premiere Oct. 18 through Oct. 21.

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