The Lady in Black, pure suspense

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Jealous, demanding and discreet. The protagonist, imaginary or not, of the play The lady in blackcontinues to terrify viewers for almost 30 years, when it was installed on the Mexican theater billboard, since February 17, 1994, in the now non-existent Teatro Arlequín, next to the Monument to the Mother, in Mexico City.

Since then, viewers have changed. They constantly have many more visual and sound stimuli due to the predominance of technology in their lives. What would they fear from a theater story within the theater? Precisely the disconnection from their phones and the connection with two actors, two chairs, a trunk and their own imagination, which makes them perceive planned elements and others, which only live in themselves. That is the success of this work that, although it is not strictly seasonal, as it offers performances all year round, during the Halloween and Day of the Dead celebrations it seems to move completely naturally to explore paranormal phenomena.

For the producer Antonio Calvo, The lady in black It becomes even more relevant in 2023, as human beings, without the escape of omitting their thoughts in front of a device, immerse themselves in their own ghostly fantasies once the lights go out and they listen to Arthur Kipps' story.

This man has lived in terror from an experience he faced in his youth and whose terrible events must be told before an audience. That is why he seeks the help of John Morris, a skeptical stage director, to guide him in interpreting his text. The theater is their meeting point and the spectators are a fundamental part of revealing who the lady in black is.

“We have extraordinary actors with a very simple production that what it achieves is that the human essence is seen and it stimulates your imagination, to such a degree, that it puts you in an altered state of consciousness where you begin to confuse what you imagine and what that you see and you no longer know what is real.

“People believe that things appear to them and they see them. That has been the success of the work for so many years. The human essence, although more than 20 years have passed, is still there. The new generations come and you touch them with the same essence and everyone is surprised to discover the power of their mind, because that is what it does. The Lady...: Reveals the true power of the mind, the one you already have within you. It is the secret of success for so many years.

“In the case of new technologies, they disconnect us and distance us from our essence. So they make more valid The Lady... and more powerful. Suddenly, the kids arrive and disconnect from TikTok and you connect them with a reality in an empty theater and with the power of their imagination. That is to say, the impact is double: it connects you with reality and with the fantasy that your mind can create, with what you carry inside, because technology accustoms us to giving us everything digested ten centimeters from our eyes,” said Antonio Calvo. , who has been a producer from the beginning, in an interview with Excelsior.

This is why, once entering the theater, cell phones are turned off completely, especially because they interfere with the telling of the story.

“You disconnect them from the virtual, you connect them to reality and then you disconnect them again to take them to the fiction of the work,” said Calvo.

That is the curiosity of living a personal and group experience with this story, which can be modified over time, when seen again. The screams, the nervous laughter and even some spectators eager to leave, are part of the history of its representation in Mexico.

And as for 29 years, The Lady... He not only stays on stage, but goes through every nook and cranny of the theaters in which he performs. That is why companies are used to hearing some noise, things not being in the place where they were left or even having a ghost behind the scenes or some unexpected sound.

On November 1, they will offer a performance at the Álvaro Obregón mayor's office, at the Youth Theater, while on November 2, All Souls' Day, they will have a special performance at the Ofelia Theater, in the Anzures neighborhood of CDMX. On November 6 and 13 they will perform at the Teatro Xola Julio Prieto. In addition, they will offer performances in the interior of the Republic, as they have two casts, one for the capital and another for the rest of the venues.

Currently, the actors Odiseo Bichir, Alejandro Tommasi, Rafael Perrín, Ernesto D'Alessio, Benjamín Rivero, Emmanuel Okaury and Fabián Pazzo alternate roles, as well as Patricia Perrín - who has done it from the beginning -, Lupita Adriana, Fredel Bettancourt and Gabriela Palacios .

“Always this season we tour throughout Mexico and we never stop at the Ofelia Theater, where we have special performances. The Lady... He gets jealous when we stop paying attention to him. Suddenly, in the dressing room he speaks to us.

"To Benjamín Rivero, in Ensenada, he suddenly said: 'Benjaaa!' and he ran away. Then, he saw a woman between the legs (curtains), in the theater, where she was sitting. But there was no one! On that trip, a few days ago, we returned along the highway to Tijuana, where we stayed. Then, he told us that he had seen that ghost and every time he told it, the fog on the road would thicken and I couldn't see anything.

“We are already used to what happens with The Lady... and when it is mild, in the theater, and they talk to us in dressing rooms or something appears or the door opens, I already see it as part of the collection. But the thing about Ensenada didn't make me laugh, because I thought: 'at what moment does he appear here in the fog?' That was strange, because normally outside of the theater, it doesn't happen to us. What is common is that 'someone' sits behind the curtains to watch the performance, a very pale woman, and then she is no longer there,” she explained.

The theater is open and the play, before it celebrates its 30th anniversary next February, is ready to welcome the public this season to awaken their gaze towards ghostly fiction.


The lady in black

  • Usual times at Teatro Ofelia: Friday 8:30 p.m.; Saturday 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.; Sunday 6:00 p.m.
  • Official website:


  • The 15 years of season The lady in black They were celebrated in the Metropolitan Cathedral. The plaque, unveiled by Carmen Salinas (1939-2021), is located in the sacristy of the religious site.
  • At 17 years old he had a virtual plaque with 1,011 godparents who registered on his official website, for his then four thousand performances.
  • Then, his 23rd birthday was celebrated with 500 spectators on the steps of the Angel of Independence.
  • For his next 30 years, in February 2024, the celebrations are still being planned and include remembering the actor Germán Robles (1929-2015).

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