USD Theatre stages chilling drama The Woman in Black

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre will present the spine chilling drama “The Woman in Black,” Feb. 25-March 1.

“The Woman in Black,” adapted by Stephen Mallatratt from the novel by Susan Hill, gives audiences an evening of unremitting drama as they are transported into a terrifying and ghostly world. All performances will be in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre of the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts.

The disturbing story is centered on Arthur Kipps (Cody Strand, of Brandon, S.D.), a middle-aged London solicitor, who hires a theatre and the services of a professional actor to help him re-enact, and hopefully exorcise, a ghostly event which befell him many years previous with horrifyingly tragic results. From a cluttered stage, Kipps begins to read his story: painfully and self-consciously at first, but, coached by the Actor (Allen Jones of Miller, S.D.) and aided by theatrical artifice, he grows in ability as he assumes a variety of roles and the play moves from narration to re-enactment. Kipps desperately attempts to remain rational as he works to discover the truth about the hauntings of the Woman in Black (Erin Gallion of Salina, Kan.). A macabre sequence of events is unleashed, culminating in a truly frightening twist in the play’s final moments.

The play is directed by third year M.F.A. directing candidate Rachel Foulks of Ponca, Neb., with dialect coaching by Professor Priscilla Hagen. Creating the terrifying Neverland inhabited by The Woman in Black are lighting designer Anthony Pellecchia, assistant professor of theatre and a team of graduate student designers, including Megan Parrish of Spencer, Iowa, Gabriel Gomez of Fargo, N.D. and Rachel Mathews of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as designers of sound, scenery and costumes. Jay Seevers of Rockerville, S.D. is technical director for his culminating M.F.A. project.

Download a dress rehearsal photo of Strand (left) and Jones.

Performances for “The Woman in Black” are at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 25-26 and Feb. 28 and March 1; and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 27.  Tickets ($14 for adults, $9 for K-12 and non-USD students, and $4 for USD students with ID) can be reserved by calling the USD Theatre Box Office at (605) 677-5400 or by going online at www.usd.edu/theatre.