‘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
International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…