Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fiscus on Sanity and Ghosts in MET's WOMAN IN BLACK

J. Kevin Tallent and Tim Fiscus
Photo by Candice C. Thornton and Wade Moran
by Jennifer Haaland

"A lot of the terror in this show is the fear of losing your own sanity," leading man in Mesa Encore Theatre's (MET) current production of Woman in Black, Tim Fiscus, said.  "It's a psychological thriller that's a lot more about the horrors you don't see than the ones you do."

Fiscus describes the Stephen Mallatratt's longstanding drama as a "re-telling of a ghost story," one that's tried and true enough to have been running every night in London for the past 25 years. Because the fear MET has created is designed to eat at the audience from the inside, the intimate Black Box production is sparse on physical visuals, but bursting with specialized sound and thematic lighting effects.

"The show you come to watch is a dress rehearsal for the performance of a man's life story.  The audience watches an actor and his manager [the playwright] rehearse a show," Fiscus said.  "The premise is, an older man has kept an horrific secret his entire life.  He's decided to come out with it and has written his own story as a ghost story.  But it turns out he can't bring himself to tell his family himself, so he hires an actor--he hires me--to tell it for him."

The creepy sensations evoked come from very personal interpretations, according to Fiscus. The eerie events beg of each audience member, 'Do you believe in the supernatural?  Does it really exist? Or are you just imagining these implausible things as a defense mechanism?'

"Real fear is not cartoony.  It's not over-exaggerated shrieks. It is deep," said Fiscus. "The emotions this show brings up are quite a bit more powerful than fear and terror."

Fiscus no doubt knows of what he speaks. His award-winning acting career has spanned the globe, and this is his second production of Woman in Black, the first being years ago in Germany. Though his primary love is musical theatre, the straight plays he chooses to do are meaty, hard-hitting, complex dramas. What better Halloween invitation than this to get your ghost on?

"I like to tear into serious stuff, the heavy shows." Fiscus said. "The best outcome would be that you leave Woman in Black thinking about those characters and their predicament.  You are maybe asking yourself, 'What would I do?  What do I really believe?"

CLICK HERE for more information about this production which runs through October 22nd

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