‘The Woman in Black’ is known to be the second longest-running play in the history of West End, and was presented by Dulaang Kalay (DK), a theater group of Kalayaan College and Word of Mouth on October 19 and 20, respectively at T.E.A.T.R.I.N.O., Promenade, Greenhills Shopping Center, in San Juan. It starred two of the country’s exciting theater thespians, Jeremy Domingo and Reb Atadero as Arthur Kipps and the young theater actor, whom the junior solicitor hired to help him.
On its first act, the play opened in an empty Victorian theater with Kipps reading from a manuscript of his story as the young actor, whom he hired, berated him for his poor delivery of the piece. After a much heated debate, they both decided to perform the story, with the Actor (Atadero) played a younger Kipps, and Kipps (Domingo) himself played all the other characters mentioned in the script, which was part of his journey, as he narrated the play. However, during the course of the play’s run-through, there were things that unfolded.
Domingo stood out all through and through in all of his character portrayals. It is something that he probably has mastered with his being a seasoned actor and has played several roles as a voice talent. Though Atadero as the Actor, did great here, still it was Domingo, who was remarkable in this production, which is based on the book of the same title, and was written in 1983 by Susan Hill. Domingo made his multiple roles distinct from each other; a task that is quite Herculean. Lauded to be one of the best ‘horror’ stories mounted on stage, yes, it did scare or perhaps shocked some of its audiences when it had its gala premiere on a Friday night. Yet, I was expecting that the ‘woman in black’ to be disturbing for me—but I guess—my tolerance for horror stories is far too high that it didn’t leave any ‘nightmare’ or ‘scary thoughts’ when I went to bed that night.
The lighting was great, no doubt about it. Meliton Roxas Jr. did a beautiful rendition of the lights. However, the executions of the moving objects need some re-working, but it was a good attempt overall. William E. Manzano was successful in squeezing the best of Domingo, so as with Atadero well; but the latter just need to be more ‘mature’ in attacking the role of the ‘Actor’ haunted by the ‘woman in black’. Also, the appearance of the supposedly creepy ‘woman in black’ [for me] should be more than memorable, or if not, a disturbing experience altogether.
As a whole, ‘The Woman in Black’ made quite a stir as it had its re-run this month.
Dulaang Kalay (DK), is the first student organization in Southeast Asia to stage this West End classic, produced and presented an advanced engagement on August 31st of this year.
Dulaang Kalay and Word of Mouth Theater Philippines’ ‘The Woman in Black’ was presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Ltd., under Amateur License 131661; and in partnership with Sybex Animal Health & Nutrition, and Global Nutrition International.