Quote of the Day: Certain it is, the place still continues under the sway of some witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, causing them to walk in continual reverie. They are given to all kinds of marvelous beliefs, are subjects to trances and visions, and frequently see strange sights, and hear music and voices in the air.Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Brant Miller as Bram Bones, Ryan Lear as Ichabod Crane, and Joanna Harmon as Katrina van Tassel in Walking Shadow’s adaptation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Publicity images by Eric Melzer

The Walking Shadow Theatre Company produced The Legend of Sleepy Hollow a few years ago, in 2010, originally for the Jon Hassler Theater. John Heimbuch wrote the stage adaptation and Jon Ferguson is the director of the production that they filmed in 2013, using multiple cameras, and newly edited for our viewing pleasure. Although most of us think about spooky tales in October, it was fun to ring in the new year (with all its angst) with this fun, and sometimes funny retelling of Irving’s haunting tale. Is it based on any reality? Is it a story of a lovelorn school teacher chased off by a jealous rival? Is it just school girl fantasy, or bored citizens longing for mystery and distraction? I don’t know, but I’ve always enjoyed this story. It captures the imagination and brings a community together through a legend filled with myth and intrigue. 

Hans Hauge in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Photo by Dan Norman

I didn’t expect it to be funny. Usually ghost stories have a dark theme, where you want to snuggle under your blanket and grab onto someone’s hand when the monster jumps out. Well, the story has a few surprises, moments of characters jumping out of hidden areas, creepy make-up, weird beards, and sinister laughs, and it has funny quips, exaggerated movements, sometimes dancing, sometimes zoombie-like actions, and nods to the audience. It’s a physical show, and the actors did a great job. I liked it. I appreciated the humor and being able to laugh at the characters and their reactions to the moment. I wish I could have been in the audience when they filmed it.

The audience was also fun to listen to. They were great, laughing, chuckling, and reacting to the scenes. It was almost like being there. The use of sound (Tim Cameron) and lighting (Logan Jambik) add much to the atmosphere of this piece. Again, it would have had a stronger effect in person, but sitting at home, under a blanket, with most of the lights turned off, and having the cat pounce on my lap at the right moment, gave me just enough spooky feelings. 

You can watch The Legend of Sleepy Hollow through January 31, 2021. Go to the Walking Shadow Theatre Company website for details. It’s a nice distraction from the world that feels at times insane and chaotic, and at other times isolating and mundane. 

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: What are some urban legends from your community?