Encore Youth Theater jumpstarted the Halloween spirit in the City of Vista by presenting a tale of haunting proportions. This eerie fable, known as
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, recounts the infamous myth of the headless horseman and his inopportune victim, Ichabod Crane.
The story commences with a frightening “Shhhh…” from floating female ghosts dispersed throughout the theater. It has been told that the town of Sleepy Hollow is haunted, with many ghosts and spirits tormenting various members of the town. An ominous curse that ends up affecting none other than the youthful new schoolmaster, Ichabod Crane.
Tim Cabal is poised and eloquent in his role as the articulate and witty Ichabod who comes to teach the children. One of the new songs, “Can You Picture It?” added in this re-mount is a solo written for his character, and is capably delivered by Cabal. Katrina Van Tassel
(Alexis Young) catches the eye of Ichabod Crane and they begin a subtle, adoring romance. Young’s commitment to her character was commendable and her vocals were well suited to the score. Regrettably, Ichabod has competition for Katrina’s attention. Brom Bones
(Neiman Wilson) is a cocky young lad, with dashing charm and arrogant character, who attempts to coerce Katrina into a romance. Wilson chose to present Brom Bones in a fashion similar to that of Gaston, the well-known burley bully in
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Try as he might, his efforts are futile in winning over the prettiest girl in town. Wilson has great comedic timing and embodies the bigheaded brute impeccably.
Ichabod experiences an ill-fated encounter with the Woman in White (one of the many spirits of the town), while traveling from the schoolhouse one night. During a dramatic waltz with the Woman, Ichabod learns of the mystery of the headless horseman. The Woman warns: “He is coming for you,” which is the impetus for much of Ichabod’s ensuing panic.
Sarah Slaven (The Woman in White) fully embodies the mystical role with her great physical interpretation,
at times melodramatically. Ichabod is so overwhelmed by his fear of such ghosts that it begins to affect his everyday life. Even his young students begin to notice his odd behavior. Jonathan Van Kinder seeks out Ichabod for advice about “women” and becomes a kindred spirit with him. The young member of the cast,
Trevor Moran, delivered another recognizable leading performance for his role as Jonathan Van Kinder. He is a loyal student to Ichabod Crane, and is a bright character in this dark and enigmatic production. Another comical aspect of the show was the occasional appearance of an inebriated old fool
(Kaden Strong as Mr. Van Dyke) who causes a few dispersed chuckles throughout the audience.
The climax of terror came during the creative and humorous chase scene between the prospective headless horseman and Ichabod Crane. The wooden set horses were quite ingenious and used very appropriately due to the constrictions of the stage.
Director, Karenssa LeGear (who played the original Woman in White, in the 2001 production) magnificently directed this rendition of the classic tale. Her innovative direction and incorporation of recurring thematic elements such as the dispersing of smoke and the multitude of ghosts is used tastefully and effectively. On the night of this review there were technical glitches that adversely affected some scenes making it difficult to hear and fully appreciate this well directed play.
At the conclusion of the production, many questions were left unanswered as to the disappearance of Katrina and her beau Ichabod. Was Brom Bones really responsible for the frightening of Ichabod? Was the headless horseman real?
Perhaps audiences will never know the answers left lingering in this legend, but it would be a worthwhile outing to the Avo Theatre for anyone who dares to seek them himself at this macabre time of year.
Performs October 3 - 12, 2008.
National Youth Theatre
Photos by Becky Gemmell
~ Cast ~
Mrs. Thomasson/ servant: Julia Bender
Margaret Van Dyke: Katie Blessing
Emily Thomasson: Ravyn Bowen
Mrs. Van Dyke: Tawni Bowen
Quick Van Pelson: Marshall Briggs
Ichabod Crane: Tim Cabal
Mrs. Van Tassel: Ivey Coombs
Mrs. Van Kinder/servant: Makenna Dearborn
Robert Van Pelson: Issac Golden
Mr. Van Tassel: Tyler Lemire
Rachel Van Pelson: Natalia Maggio
Heather Van Dyke: Kaity Meyer
Cynthia Van Dyke: Megan Meyer
Jonathan Van Kinder: Trevor Moran
Monty Thomasson: Josh Morrow
Diana Thomasson: Dana Muldowney
Mr. Van Kinder: Kurtis Omori
Mrs. Pierce: Lindsey Shay
Woman in White: Sarah Slaven
Mr. Van Dyke: Kaden Strong
Mr. Thomasson: Michael Traber
Brom Bones: Neiman Wilson
Katrina Van Tassel:
Elsa Van Dyke: Tara Young
Mary Grace Summer