Two freshman star in Biola's production of "The Woman in Black"
Two freshmen make up the cast of the communication department’s spring play, “The Woman in Black,” a story about a London lawyer who hires an actor to help him retell haunting events from his past. Clothed in ambiguity, “The Woman in Black” has played in London for more than two decades, best known for its gothic horror and chilling ending.
“The Woman in Black” has been a play, film and book. The film starring Daniel Radcliffe is quite different from the play that Biola is producing. Both the film and play are interpretations of the original book by Susan Hill, according to Kate Brandon, associate professor of communication studies and director of “The Woman in Black” at Biola.
“It’s a story about a man who is burdened about something that happened in his past that affected him tremendously,” Brandon said. “It’s about making choices, and the responsibility for those choices.”
Theme reminds audience of forgiveness
As a result, she believes the play with its theme of personal responsibility is especially relevant to Biola students.
Atticus Shires, a freshman theater major at Biola, plays the actor hired by the lawyer to help retell the past. Shires believes that the play is about handling one’s past carefully.
“It’s good to know where you’ve come from, but good to understand that what’s done is done,” Shires said. “Your past has already been redeemed. We need to be moving forward rather than looking back.”
He understands the play as especially resonant to a Christian audience, as it reminds believers of the forgiveness of Christ.
Cast faced challenges over interterm
Acting alongside Shires is Cristofer Cockrell, a freshman Bible major at Biola, who plays the lawyer Arthur Kipps. Cockrell recognizes that the play contains darker elements, drawing attention to the fact that Satan has many ways to fool and scare us. However, he sees a good message shining through and believes that experiencing the struggles of these characters in a controlled setting will build viewers’ courage.
The cast and crew of “The Woman in Black” had difficulties when rehearsing during interterm, as the first actor and the understudy playing Arthur Kipps pulled out of the show. Brandon sought Cockrell to play the part, and has confidence in the hard work of both Cockrell and Shires.
“There are always challenges, and this one had a good amount of challenges,” Brandon said.
However, she is grateful for the privilege of working on the play in a Christian environment.
“We can recognize the impact of the spiritual on the reality,” Brandon said. “These things are intertwined.”
Brandon hopes that the audience walks away both entertained and contemplative about the impact of choices.