By Steven Mallatratt
Based on the novel by Susan Hill
Directed by Elly Green
March 24th – April 23rd
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays 7:30pm
Sunday matinees at 3pm
Special Industry Performance Monday, April 10th
“This production is a horror fan’s dream! … 10/10!” – Geek N Out
“Thakkar and Koon continuously engage the audience with an in-the-moment warmth that evokes empathy, and with it, a deeper and more thrilling experience of their terror.” – PerformInk Chicago
“I clutched my companion’s hand in fright more than once.” – EDGE Media Network
“Despite the creative minimalism of the play-within-a-play conceit, the production values are robust. There are enough jump scares to satisfy any horror aficionado … The transitions between framing device and the frightful tale of Eel Marsh House are clear and flow well, aided by Emma Deane’s lighting design. … Sarah D. Espinoza produces an outstanding soundscape that lives up to their acclaim, and each creak and screech is precisely deployed.” – TheaterMania
“There were a lot a really chilling moments. I saw the movie and I thought it was scary, but this was scarier because everything was so up-close. Whenever anything terrifying happened it felt like it could reach out and get you.” – Ada Grey Reviews for You
“Who knew a simple scrim could be put to such creepy effect?” – Chicago Reader
WildClaw Theatre begins their 2017 season by bringing the award-winning stage play based on Susan Hill’s classic 1983 novel to Chicago. A solicitor hires an actor to tutor him in recounting to family and friends a story that has long troubled him. It concerns events that transpired when he attended the funeral of an elderly recluse twenty years ago. There he caught sight of a woman in black, the mere mention of whom terrifies the locals, for she is a specter who haunts the neighborhood. Together, the two men recreate the events of that dark and stormy night.
Cast & Crew
|Robert Koon – The Actor
Robert Koon’s recent acting work includes Chagrin Falls for The Agency Theatre Collective, Human Terrain for Broken Nose Theatre, Graveyard of Empires for 16th Street Theatre, A Small Fire for Steep Theatre, and WildClaw Theatre’s Deathscribe. He is a Resident Playwright Alumnus at Chicago Dramatists, where his plays Homecoming 1972 and St. Colm’s Inch were produced. His other plays include Vintage Red and the Dust of the Road (Joseph Jefferson Award Citation for New Work, American Theatre Critics Association Steinberg Award Nominee), Odin’s Horse (Joseph Jefferson Award nominee for New Work, Earth Matters on Stage Award for Ecodrama, Smith Prize finalist), and Menorca. He has also been a finalist for the Heideman Award from Actors Theatre of Louisville. Robert has been awarded creative residencies at the Ragdale Foundation and the William Inge Center for the Arts. He teaches playwriting at the Playwrights Studio at Chicago Dramatists, and he is also an Associate Artist at 16th Street Theatre. Robert is a member of the Dramatists Guild.
|Priyank Thakkar – Mr. Kipps
Priyank is proud and excited to make his Chicago theater debut in the upcoming production of The Woman in Black at the Den Theatre, presented by WildClaw Theatre. Born and raised in India, Priyank moved to the states at the age of 10 and took an interest in stage performance at age 14. He is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Fashion Business and Associates in Acting. Priyank can also be seen as Roger in the upcoming crime drama feature film Path of Egress, releasing this summer.
|Nic Bell – Understudy
This is Nic’s first performance at Wildclaw. Other Chicago credits include Richard/Sparrow in Thumbelina (Understudy, Lifeline Theatre) Zion in Forecast (For Youth Inquiry), and a cast member of the Sober Ben show Lower Wacky Drive: Death Finds Us All (Gorilla Tango Theatre). Nic is a recent graduate from the Chicago College of Performing Arts (BFA 2014). He has also worked with Empire Films Inc. in Atlanta, GA.
|Mark Lancaster – Understudy
Mark Lancaster is a Chicago transplant who doesn’t hate the local weather. He finished his MFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University in 2012, and has since performed in Chicago as an actor, a stage combatant, a burlesque performer/emcee, and a creature effects model for Kosart Effects Studios. You can see his work this summer in the Oak Park Festival Theatre productions of Macbeth and The Fair Maid of the West. If you hand him cured meats, he’ll say thank you.
|Elly Green – Director
Elly is a freelance director, whose recent work includes the US premiere of The Distance by Deborah Bruce for Haven Theatre, and the co-world premiere of Hansol Jung’s No More Sad Things for Sideshow Theatre. Other Chicago credits include: After Miss Julie by Patrick Marber (Strawdog), The Woman Before (Trap Door), Rabbit (Stage Left – Jeff Nominated), Happy (Redtwist), Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Theatre Seven) and The Tomkat Project (Playground Theatre & NY Fringe). Elly was assistant-director on Henry V (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre) and Proof (Court Theatre). She is an artistic associate with Sideshow Theatre and Stage Left Theatre. Elly originally trained in London on the MFA in Theatre Directing from Birkbeck College. Her UK directing credits include: Our Country’s Good, My Balloon Beats Your Astronaut, Beyond Therapy, About Tommy, Copenhagen, Skylight, The Beach and The Zoo Story. For more information see www.ellygreendirector.com.
|Norine McGrath* – Assistant Director and Makeup Artist
Norine has had a crush on Stephen King since the tender age of 9. When she realized it was possible to combine her love of horror with her degree in theatre, she was drawn to WildClaw like a vampire bat to blood. Norine was the TD and AD for Blackbird Theatre Company, and has done work with City Lit, PML Theatre and for Painted Lady Productions. She currently works with Outlaw Production Collective to produce new plays. Directing credits include Meat (WildClaw), Iced Black Coffins (OPC), Of Mice and Minotaurs (City Lit), The Diary of Anne Frank, Watbanaland, as well as several pieces for the Royal Non Such Presents BYOT series. Her favorite non-WildClaw projects were Volpone (AD to Sheldon Patinkin), and the last 7 Art of Adaptation Festivals at City Lit. Norine is also the resident makeup artist, and has recently thrown herself into the world of special effects, taking on the blood cannons and severed limbs not only for WildClaw but also in collaboration with Deathblow Productions and Chicago Rot Shop.
|Ryan Kenney – Stage Manager
Ryan is so excited to be working with WildClaw Theatre for the first time. He is finishing up his last Semester at Concordia University Chicago. Some of his past Chicago credits include CatsCradle’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (SM), Chicago Commercial Collective’s First Date The Musical! (Sub-ASM) and Theatre Y’s Medea (ASM). Ryan hopes that you enjoy the show!
|MJ Dougherty – Assistant Stage Manager
MJ is a senior at Columbia College Chicago where she studies stage management. She looks forward to graduating in May and continuing to work around the city. Some of her recent stage management credits include Peer Gynt (CCC) directed by Jeff Ginsberg, Violence and Son (CCC) directed by Paulina Strayer, and Fight Quest directed by Moira Begale (Otherworld Theatre Company).
|John Wilson** – Scenic Designer & Technical Director
John is honored to be back to work at WildClaw. Past design work with WildClaw: The Life of Death, Kill Me, and The Shadow Over Innsmouth, as well as acting in Motel 666. He will also be designing WildClaw’s next show, Night in Alachua County. Other scenic designs opening in April include Scapegoat with New Colony and Blood at the Root with The Yard & Jackalope. John is a company member with Collaboraction, and an artistic associate with WildClaw and The Yard. He wishes to thank this wonderful company, cast, crew, Liam, Slim and Heather for all their wonderful ideas and support. Please visit his website southerndrawn.com.
|Emma Deane – Lighting Designer
Emma is a Chicago based freelance lighting designer. Recent credits include The Adventures of Robin Hood, Pinocchio: A Folk Musical and Fog Island (Filament Theatre); As You Like It (North Park University); The Amish Project, Still (Interrobang Theatre Project); Dying City (The Comrades); Hand in Hand, Nothing of Me (Akvavit Theatre); Scarcity, The Seedbed (Redtwist Theatre) Buddy Cop 2 (Pavement Group) and associate lighting design on The Nutcracker (The House Theater). Emmadeane.com
|Alec Long – Props Designer
This is Alec’s first show with WildClaw. Recent credits include Native Gardens, Wonder in My Soul, Roz and Ray (Victory Gardens) The Columnist, Dutchman and TRANSit (American Blues Theatre) Christmas at Christine’s, UltraAmerican, Mosque Alert (Silk Road Rising) A Room (A Red Orchid Theatre) Chagrin Falls (The Agency Theatre) The Bardy Bunch (The Mercury) Comedy of Errors (The Commission Theatre) Thee Trinity (Polemic Theatre) The Grapes of Wrath (The Gift) Even Longer and Farther Away (New Colony.)
|Sarah D. Espinoza* – Sound Designer
Sarah D. Espinoza is a Chicago-based sound designer and proud company member of WildClaw Theatre. Her current projects include Romeo and Juliet (Loyola University Chicago) and Firebirds (Rivendell). Some of her recent projects include Diamond Dogs (The House Theatre), Thumbelina (Lifeline), You On the Moors Now (The Hypocrites), Farewell My Friend ((re)-discover), Douglass (American Vicarious), Dating and Dragons (The Factory), Midnight Cowboy (Lifeline), Mr. Popper’s Penguins (Lifeline), The Revel (The House Theatre), Motel 666 (WildClaw), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Two Pence), fml: How Carson McCullers saved my life (Loyola University Chicago), Deathscribe 2014 (WildClaw), and The Last Defender (The House). She also won the 2015 Non-Equity Jeff award for sound design for The Arsonists (Strawdog).
|Rachel M. Sypniewski – Costume Designer
Rachel is thrilled to be working with WildClaw for the first time! Ms. Sypniewski has designed over 300 productions in the Chicago area. Among her favorite credits are Merchild (16th Street), London Wall (Griffin Theater, Non-Equity Jeff nomination for Best Costume Design), Titanic: The Musical (Griffin Theater, Non-Equity Jeff nomination – Best Costume Design); Miss Holmes (Lifeline Theater), La Bete (Trap Door, Non-Equity Jeff Award – Best Costume Design); The Ghost is Here (Vitalist); Tiger at the Gates (Promethean-Broadway World nomination for Best Costume Design); Phadre (Trap Door); Last Big Mistake (Factory), Caucasian Chalk Circle (Wheaton College). Rachel is the resident costume designer for Trap Door, artistic associate with 16th Street Theater and company member with the Factory. www.rachelsyp.com
|Mark Penzien – Movement Consultant
Mark E. Penzien is happy to be working with WildClaw Theatre for the first time. Mark is an actor, fighter and choreographer. He loves the collaborative nature of working with movement to tell a story on stage. When not in the theatre or in front of a camera, Mark runs a massage therapy business and is an avid indoor skydiver.
|Moira Begale* – Co Production Manager
Moira is an actor/producer/fighter and has performed in various storefront theaters in Chicago, some of them include WildClaw Theatre, Akvavit Theatre, Pride Films and Plays, Otherworld Theatre Company and Babes with Blades. During the day, she is a producer for corporate events at Dave and Co. and at night is a proud ensemble member of Otherworld Theatre Company (Sci-Fi and Fantasy) and the Managing Director of WildClaw Theatre (Horror). She is represented by Stewart Talent Agency and has appeared in several commercials, industrials and short films. She received her BS in Theater/Acting at Illinois State University, and has focused her theatrical studies in the Meisner technique at Black Box Acting Studio. Moira is ecstatic to be a part of this show and couldn’t be happier to help spook the WildClaw fans out there!
|Shandee Vaughan – Co-Production Manager
Shandee is thrilled to be back in the room with WildClaw Theatre to aide in bringing this spine-tingling tale to life. She is currently in production for the Chicago premiere of The Columnist with American Blues Theater, after a successful holiday run of It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago. Earlier this fall, she stage managed Wildclaw Theatre’s Deathscribe at the new 1700 space at Steppenwolf, before taking the show to the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. Other recent Chicago credits include: Little Shop of Horrors (American Blues Theater), Nicks and Cuts (WildClaw Theatre), Fight Quest (Otherworld Theatre Company), Hedda Gabler (Oakton Performing Arts). Shandee graduated with her BA in Theatre Design and Technology from West Texas A&M University and enjoys playing the ukulele in her free time. Shandeevaughan.com
|Krista D’Agostino* – Dramturg
Krista D’Agostino is a theatre artist and educator. She is a company member with WildClaw Theatre, where she was recently seen in The Revenants, WormFood – Nicks & Cuts and Deathscribe. Krista is a teaching artist and director with Mudlark Theater, a youth theater in Evanston, where she has directed and helped to create original adaptations of Fairly Grimm Tales, Comedy of Errors, Pandora’s Box, Aesop’s Fables, Pinocchio, The Nutcracker, and Little Women. Chicago directing credits include Fog Island (Filament Theatre Ensemble) and The Mistakes Madeline Made (LiveWire). Other recent Chicago acting credits include Fable-ous! (Lifeline Theatre), Assistance and I Love You, I Think (LiveWire). Krista is originally from Boston, MA and studied theater at Boston College. Hi John!
|Kathy Logelin – Dialect Coach|
John Taflan and his VO work
Dave and Co.
Tiffany Keane Schaefer
Vagabond School of the Arts
The Den Theatre
A Red Orchid Theatre
*denotes WildClaw Company Member
**denotes WildClaw Artistic Associate