‘The Woman in Black’ creeps into Act II Playhouse

Jered McLenigan in "The Woman in Black." Photo: Mark Garvin
Jered McLenigan in “The Woman in Black.”
Credit: Mark Garvin

With more than 10 Barrymore awards, and a Theater Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award to boot, James J. Christy just might be Philadelphia’s most successful theater director of the last 30 years. And, at 72, he’s not scared to take on new challenges.

Christy is tackling the horror genre for the first time. Adapted from Susan Hill’s novel by Stephen Mallatratt, “The Woman in Black” has been a crowd pleaser on London’s West End since 1987. Christy’s version runs at Act II playhouse through Nov. 24.

What have you learned about the horror genre from this experience?
I’ve been a little stymied with the use of music. I use very little of it in theater – and never to underscore tension. But music is so important to the genre. I had to adjust.

Does it feel cheap to use music that way?
Instead of “cheap,” can we say “manipulative?” Yes, that’s how it feels to me. But I’m just learning about the form. It’s so interesting! Last night there was a moment when the audience gasped. But they collectively giggled directly after the gasp. Is that bad or good?

What are the elements of a good ghost story?
The truth is I still don’t know! I’m in the midst of figuring that out right now. But I think it comes down to the right balance of credibility and surprise. It needs to feel like it could really happen, but we need to be totally surprised at the same time.

Why do we love to be scared? Why is the horror genre so much fun?
It’s not much different than people wanting to see comedies or tragedies. It’s just a different emotional button they want to have tickled. I think genres provide a kind of safety for us: You know what the rules are. You know you’re going to get scared, but the rules of the genre will keep you safe.

“The Woman in Black”
Through Nov. 24
Act II Playhouse
56 E. Butler Ave., Ambler, PA
$23-$42, 215-654-0200
www.act2.org


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to “Orphan Black” Season 2! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany, while avoiding the…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.