Portal Players Dramatic Society opens its 37th season on Oct. 10 with The Woman In Black, based on the 1983 book by Susan Hill and more recently made into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame.
In this tale adapted for the stage, Port Alberni’s 78-year old Capitol Theatre plays the role of an empty Victorian theatre, where an old Arthur Kipps relates an eerie story of his youth to a young actor who he has hired to dramatize the story. When they run through the play, however, things begin to go terribly wrong.
Many people are now familiar with the film The Woman in Black. However, the stage play takes a different view of the story, which originated as a novel by Susan Hill in 1983 before being transformed for London’s West End stage in 1989 by Stephen Mallatratt, where it still runs.
The stage production is notable in that the story is told by just two actors.
Director David McGarry knew that casting this production would be integral to its success; the script rests firmly upon the shoulders of its two male leads.
“I knew that we could make this production really special with the right actors, and when I was able to cast Chris Arthurs and Cody Taylor I knew that we had a show.”
Arthurs and Taylor are experienced actors with a history of roles with Portal Players. They acted together in Reefer Madness: The Musical! in 2013 and The Rocky Horror Show in 2009.
Outside of the theatre the two are good friends—so good, that Taylor served as Arthurs’ best man at his wedding last month.
“Once we had the cast in place, the pressure was on to ensure that we would have the technical support to bring the show to the next level,” adds producer Brent Ronning.
“The lighting, sound, and special effects would need to be above and beyond what we normally attempt to do in our theatre. We wanted to challenge ourselves creatively to do some different things to inspire ourselves, and bring something memorable to our audience.”
Says McGarry: “When Peter Wienold agreed to work on the complex soundscape for the show, and with my background in lighting design, I knew that we could make this ghost story come to life in our theatre.”
The production team will not divulge any additional secrets of what audiences might expect from the production, but rest assured that there shall be surprises, Ronning hinted.
McGarry does double duty as both director and lighting designer, with sound designer Wienold, stage manager Carrera Schroeder, costume designer Andrea Markiewicz and property master John Milne.
This excursion into the supernatural plays Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 10 to Nov. 1, with lounge/box office open at 6:30 p.m. and performance beginning at 7:30 p.m.
On Hallowe’en, Friday, Oct. 31, join us for a special performance beginning at 9 p.m. Lounge/box office will open at 6:30 p.m.—theatregoers will have time to explore the haunted, unexplored depths of the Capitol Theatre.
Tickets are now on sale at www.atthecapitol.org, the Capitol Theatre Box Office, and Rollin Art Centre.