A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR
I always make it a point as a director, if a story has another life beyond that of this production: a film, novel, folk tale, or indeed another theatrical production, to allow the script to tell me what it is without preconceptions from having read the novel, or seen the film.
Doing so risks getting swept up in whatever that particular angle on the story is, being taken by characters and plot points that have been highlighted by some means in that distinct telling.
This isn’t to say that you ignore the source material, but it is a delicate balance that must be struck between the world of the play within the pages of the script, and that of the expanded universe provided by the other formats – you cannot assume that your audience has read the novel, or seen the movie, you must presume they are entering this world, and meeting its characters anew. And therefore, cannot be expected to know or follow information that is not prescribed within that which they see and hear onstage.
The script holds the answers, we must always remember that, as directors and performers. Yes, we may add, augment or embellish with creative choices and character intentions drawn from offers and capabilities of specific actors, and worlds may be unique through innovative design. But the essence, what is at the heart of the story, and the fundamental information of the tale is held within those pages. It's a magic moment when you come upon it as a director, as the script unfurls its power and soul with each turn of the page.
It was quite unexpected, with The Woman In Black. It appeared…
seemingly out of nowhere – the story, a well-known story of eerie, supernatural goings-on. The thrilling tale, yes, of course, it swept me up and took me to all its peaks and troughs - but the underlying nature of the play? …
I could not have predicted the turn it would take, nor the opportunities it would present.
The story itself is one of gothic horror. But the play poses an extra challenge. The two actors are charged with playing all of the characters within this story. As we the audience see the attempt occur before our very eyes we are treated with the adventure of what it is to experience and make theatre; to become an actor, onstage - the responsibility to your audience; the care you must give when imbuing the world and charging its characters with life; the toll this takes on a person, the investment of energy, and emotion, and focus — and of course the magic it creates for you and your audience when you manage to find it.
We took the essence of this tale, both from its immersive, transportative and evocative nature and the strong thread of metatheatricality, and embraced both in this version of the work by finding a way to augment them through technical design and action.
The Woman In Black is indeed a tale of intrigue, of adventure, of discovery and terror.
Whether in our minds, our memory, or in the room with us; this experience of The Woman In Black takes you there, it draws you into its world, shows you in its theatre, things that one is not meant to see, and allows your mind to run rampant.
Let yourself be taken. Let yourself be immersed in its swirling mists, twists, turns, and magic - an entire world unfolding before you.
- Chris Jackson
For over a decade, Oliver has established himself as a dynamic theatre practitioner. Oliver has performed with various Launceston-based theatre companies, with recent acting credits including Let the Right One In (IO), Jersey Boys (Encore), and Red (IO), for which he was nominated for the Youth Achievement in Community Theatre award at the 2023 Tasmanian Theatre Awards. Additional acting credits include Mamma Mia (Encore), Flashdance, Matilda, (LC) The Addams Family, and Peter Pan (SRYT) among many others. The Woman in Black is Oliver’s third show with IO, having recently starred in Let the Right One In and Red in 2022. A long-time fan of horror and theatre, Oliver has found The Woman in Black to be the perfect marriage between the two, and he has loved the process of working on a play that relies on the fundamentals of live performance: storytelling and imagination. Creating The Woman in Black has been an immersive, challenging, and rewarding experience for Oliver, and he is incredibly excited to convey the story of Arthur Kipps to an audience. Outside of the theatre, Oliver is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing at UTAS. In the future, Oliver hopes to produce his own original works, and is eager to expand his creative outreach in the theatre community.
Michael Edgar began his professional career at the repertory theatre in Barrow -in- Furness, where they now build the AUKUS submarines. Then, lured by the offer of bigger parts and a £1 p.w. pay-rise, he moved on to the Rep in Crewe, the railway town which figures prominently in the The Woman in Black. After further stints in various reps, he worked in the West End for several years and for three years at the National Theatre of Great Britain at the Old Vic. In 1972 he moved to Australia and the following year married, Sheryl (50 th on August 31). He was with the Melbourne Theatre Company for ten years and then worked at the Mill Theatre in Geelong while teaching at Deakin University. He came to Launceston in 1985, co-founded CentrStage with John Lohrey in 1990, became Deputy Head of the School of Visual and Performing Arts, and has appeared in and directed scores of local productions. Most recently he has been seen in the Three River’s production Of Mice and Men, and in his one-person shows for Theatre North, Before The Fetch, Charles Dickens Closes the Book and Charles Dickens Reads A Christmas Carol, directed by Peter Hammond.
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MIKE & DEB ROBERTS