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The Woman in Black, adapted by Stephen Malltratt from the book by Susan Hill, is the second production in the 2012 Iowa Summer Rep season of “Chills and Thrills.” It will open at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 28, in the E.C. Mabie Theatre of the University of Iowa Theatre Building.
Other performances of the production, directed by Iowa Summer Rep regular Mary Beth Easley from New York, will be at 8 p.m., June 29 and 30, and July 5-7.
The Woman in Black, the long-running London hit, is a bone-chilling mystery of the imagination, especially notable for having only two actors and one ghost perform the entire play. The story follows Arthur Kipps, a young lawyer, as he journeys to the small market town of Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral of a client, Mrs. Alice Drablow.
At the funeral, he sees a young woman with a wasted face, dressed all in black, standing in the churchyard. Puzzled by the villagers' reluctance to speak of the woman in black, Kipps goes to Mrs. Drablow's abode, Eel Marsh House, a creepy old building in the middle of a marsh, cut off at high tide.
Sorting through Mrs. Drablow's papers, he finds a box of letters and ultimately discovers the dreadful secret of the woman in black, at a terrible cost.
Easley says, "As I sit in the theater and watch the beginning of this play, I cannot contain my excitement. My heart starts to beat a little faster, and I find myself giddy, breathless with the possibility. This play does exactly what theater does at its best: It opens your imagination, and carries you into another realm!"
The Woman in Black opened in London in 1989 and is still being performed there, becoming one of the longest-running plays in the history of the West End. It was recently made into a major motion picture, starring Daniel Radcliffe.
Iowa Summer Rep represents a rich tradition of nearly a century of summer theatre at UI. Beginning with Edward C. Mabie’s arrival on campus in 1920, summer play production became a regular feature at the UI. Beginning in 1939 and continuing for more than 40 years, summer theatre productions were a part of the UI Fine Arts Festival. From 1920 through 1960, summer productions were mounted successively, one after the other.
Starting in 1961, Summer Repertory Theatre was established and presented four plays simultaneously in an alternating rep style. In 1984, Iowa Summer Rep presented its first single-playwright season, offering a unique focus in American summer theatre. In 2000 Summer Rep elevated its status by becoming an Actors’ Equity company.
Tickets for The Woman in Black are $26 ($23 for senior citizens, $13 for youth, and $5 for UI students with a valid UI ID.) Tickets are available in advance from the Hancher box office, 193 University Capitol Centre, www.hancher.uiowa.edu/tickets, 800-HANCHER or 319-335-1160.
Discounted season subscriptions—for either all three Summer Rep shows or Summer Rep plus the opera H.M.S. Pinafore—are available through a downloadable order form. Subscriptions may also be purchased by phone or in person at the box office.
The Department of Theatre Arts is a unit of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Learn about the division activities at the new ArtsIowa website.