Haunting tale opens PICT Classic Theatre’s new season | TribLIVE.com
Theater & Arts

Haunting tale opens PICT Classic Theatre’s new season

Mary Pickels
Courtesy of PICT Classic Theatre
James FitzGerald as "The Actor" and Martin Giles as "Mr. Kipps" appear in PICT Classic Theatre’s production of "The Woman in Black."

PICT Classic Theatre general operations manager Catherine Kolos says the upcoming stage production of “The Woman in Black” is “unlike anything we have ever done.”

“It’s going to be a really intriguing show,” she says.

And be warned.

“Our goal is to scare the pants off of people,” she says.

The Stephen Mallatratt adaptation of the Susan Hill novel opens Nov. 9 at the Fred Rogers Studio, 4802 Fifth Ave., in Pittsburgh’s Oakland section.

Audiences will see and hear the story of a young lawyer, sent to settle a recently deceased widow’s estate, only to find the widow’s ghost has not vacated the property.

According to Kolos, the use of theatrical light and sound conjures a “most terrifying tale.”

Director Alan Stanford describes the production as “the most chilling ghost story you may ever hear … and the most terrifying ghost you may ever see.”

Imagination can conjure fear

Don’t expect blood-and-guts gore, Kolos says. She describes the play as more “like one of those old-school horror plays that harnesses the imagination … to create terror in our minds.”

“It’s hearing the monster, not seeing the monster,” she says.

The story is framed as a show-within-a-show, with two well-known Pittsburgh actors — James FitzGerald and Martin Giles — performing as multiple characters.

FitzGerald has three roles, while Giles transforms into 10 characters.

Mallatratt’s adaption differs slightly from the book by having two actors, the lead roles, meet on a stage to tell the ghost story.

“They unwittingly conjure (the ghost). In trying to put her spirit to rest, the opposite happens,” Kolos says.

Special effects including wind and fog help create a scary atmosphere.

“We are not using any CGI,” she says.

The stage production must find creative ways to convince an audience they hear a stage coach approaching, or a door lock clicking, Kolos says.

“Come with open minds and be ready to have some good, scary fun,” she says.

“The Woman in Black” is the second-longest-running play in London’s West End’s history, having been staged at the Fortune Theatre for three decades.

A 2012 film version starred “Harry Potter” actor Daniel Radcliffe.

“The Woman in Black” concludes on Nov. 23. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m., with weekend matinees at 2 p.m. A special late night performance is planned at 11 p.m. Nov. 22.

Tickets range from $15 to $48.

The performance is appropriate for ages 14 and up.

Details: 412-561-6000 or picttheatre.org

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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