When I first began this epic journey of involvement in The Woman in Black I was extremely excited to be able to be part of a truly creepy ghost story. Any other ghost story I have been a part of was that dramatic, gory kind of scary that ends up not being scary at all. As our wonderful director said in his earlier post, the simplicity of this play is what makes it utterly terrifying. This was going to be a new experience, and I love new experiences!
Imagine my incredible joy at the knowledge of even more new experiences when I learned that we would be creating live sound for this production! Foley artists have always fascinated me. The creation of sound has always been a remarkable wonder to me. As a child I loved to create sounds with random things and wonder why everything made the sound it did. It wasn’t just clanging pots and pans together or hitting them with random things, either. Oh no. No, this was much more in depth. For example, why did a carrot thrown against the wall sound completely different than a stick of celery hitting the wall? I do not often throw my food, but when I do, it is purely for scientific reasons. Anyway, the creation of live sound helped me connect to the play emotionally and dive further into it. The care and concentration each rehearsal involved in order to figure out the product we needed was extremely fulfilling. It could be awfully frustrating at times (especially if our fifth attempt at making a certain sound failed), but theatre takes “time and tears” as one of the characters puts it so well in our play, and through the frustration we were making incredible connections to this play and with each other.
Many of my fellow artists have commented on the amazing creative process of sound-making, so I will not go too much in depth about it. It suffices to say that I have had a blast figuring out what kinds of things make the different complex sounds we need for this show.
As the months of rehearsal went on and we had yet to figure out where our performances would take place, I tried to figure out which places would help us best with our unique needs for our show. It was difficult, and we were all working hard to figure it out. I have performed theatre in found places before, so I was not terribly worried about it. But nothing could have prepared me for the next chapter of The Woman in Black epic.
We learned, about a month ago, that we had a venue, and that said venue would be made into a theatre by us and whatever fabulous volunteers we could find.
…WOW! Was THIS a new experience! Not only were we going to create a theatre out of a found space, but we could create it to fit the needs of our show. How cool of an experience would that be? Turns out that it would be an amazing one. If our connection to the play was deep already, we made it to China with the depth created in building our own theatre.
This production has evolved in ways I don’t think any of us could have fabricated in our imaginations at the start of it all. I have been in many productions in my many years of life, but this one was most definitely the one that has taken the most effort and created the deepest connection with the show and other cast members. And that is saying a lot! The experience has been a whirlwind of creativity and hard work, and I know that it is one I shall never forget. I hope that the audience will get a taste of the amazing amount of work that went into the creation of this play and theatre, and that they will feel a connection with us through the final blackout.
– Lela Kovalenko