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'The Woman In Black' Brings Ghost Stories Alive At Downing Theatre

By Alex Nitkin | October 18, 2017 5:55am
 Nick Padiak plays an actor hired to reenact a ghost encounter in
Nick Padiak plays an actor hired to reenact a ghost encounter in "The Woman in Black."
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Nick Padiak

CHICAGO — After more than a decade producing theater, Nick Padiak still thinks of the play "The Woman in Black" as the scariest thing he's ever seen.

"To this day, my wife and I will sit down and read the script every Halloween, because it really is that frightening," he said.

That's why he wanted to bring it to Edison Park, he said.

The play follows a man haunted by a "terrible encounter with a ghost from his past," Padiak said. After suppressing the memory for years, he decides to reenact the experience in a theater, enlisting a younger actor to create a "play within a play."

The play is being staged at the James Downing Theatre — a basement below the Edison Park United Methodist Church, 6740 N. Oliphant Ave. — that Padiak described as "a little creepy."

"It's a dark, intimate space that, if used correctly, can make you feel a little claustrophobic," Padiak said. "It feels a little like gathering people close around a camp fire."

"The Woman in Black" shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and again next Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 26-28. Tickets are for sale online.