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Having read Susan Hill's novel 'The Woman in Black' as well as studied Stephen Mallatratts adaptation for the stage, how effective is the ghost story genre on stage?

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Having read Susan Hill's novel 'The Woman in Black' as well as studied Stephen Mallatratts adaptation for the stage, how effective is the ghost story genre on stage? "You must know at least one ghost story, stepfather, everyone knows one....." And he was right Thousands ands, even millions of ghost stories have been written over the years. How many were successful? How many, sent a chill down your spine? A good ghost story usually contains many conventions and similarities. I will discuss some of these and see how they fit into 'The Woman in Black' and other such ghost stories. I will also be discussing how the stage adaptation of 'The Woman in Black' was successful within the ghost story genre and what was used on stage to help with the originality and frightening aspect of the play. Without this ghost story convention the storylines would never progress. The main character or protagonist is always very curious. They always go and investigate what a normal person wouldn't. In the 'signal man' by Charles Dickens the main character insists on returning to the desolate train station. "But I expressly intend to make you another visit" In the 'Woman in Black' by Susan hill the author keeps bringing the character away from the climax and into the anti- climax. ...read more.


There was a lack of props in this play. To compensate this the director uses very effective lighting to set the scene and tell the audience what is happening. This is used in the layers office in the busy streets of London. A dull yellow light shines on the stage. This symbolised the thick, chocking smog that lay on the city at that time. "Fog was outdoors, hanging over the river, creeping in and out of alleyways and passages." At night a faint blue light was shone which showed the moon. These things are all making the stage adaptation effective because it is making the play real for the audience. Another great decision by the director was using projected images on a screen on the stage. Not only was this a good way to solve the problem of lack of props it was also very frightening. It was used in the graveyard when a cross was shown. It shows quickly and efficiently that we are now in a church. Eel Marsh house was also projected onto the screen. This was very spooky because it was dark and the house looked very creepy and daunting. As I have already discussed a desolate, isolated house is a big convention in the ghost story genre as we see in other such stories such as the signalman. ...read more.


For example when on the train or railway station they have the appropriate sound effects. The final thing that I thought helped to make this play a success in the ghost story genre was special effects. As we know from the ghost story conventions I discussed bad weather is common in ghost stories. Eel Marsh house is known for it's sudden mists and fogs. Special effects are used to portray this. They used an actual smoky substance to show the fog. This involved the audience in the play and really made us think we were there! Another special effect the director used was to enable the rocking chair to rock so much and so violently all on its own. Every ghost story has an element of supernatural and in "The Woman in Black' this is one of them. It was so scary because it was so unbelievable yet you could see it happening. Right there in front of you. Overall all of these points and many more made the play a 'Woman in Black' directed by Robin Hereford so effective as a ghost story. I thought the play was done very well. It must have been hard to make this scary without the use of cameras and computers. In the play I don't think we should be taken out of the play (the play within a play) so much. It made the beginning of the play quite slow to progress. Lucy Smith 08/05/2007 Miss Hughes 10UMS ...read more.

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