The Woman in Black

“Always make the audience suffer as much as possible,” Hitchcock once said. The Woman in Black adheres closely to that advice with a delicious blend of suspense and spookiness. Susan Hill’s original ghost story concerns a lawyer named Mr. Kipps who, after seeing a pale woman dressed entirely in black during a client’s funeral, experiences an increasingly frightening—and ultimately tragic—sequence of events. In this adaptation, we meet Mr. Kipps (Ethan Savaglio) in the aftermath. He has hired a professional actor (Bill Higman) to tell us his story, in hopes that it will help him move past it. Together they recount Mr. Kipps’ steps toward discovering the identity of the woman and what she wants. We’re guided through unexplainable noises and sights: a woman sobbing, horses nervously snorting, a locked room containing untouched children’s clothing and toys. Throughout, Savaglio and Higman’s effectively create a gripping sense of time and place. The blow they deliver during the play’s final moments—which I dare not reveal—prompted me to sleep with my light on that night. ERIKA HOBART

Thu., Jan. 8, 8:15 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8:15 p.m.; Sundays, 2:15 p.m. Starts: Jan. 8. Continues through Jan. 25, 2009

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