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On the crisp fall evening, I attended a play at the theatre. The theatre present Washington Irving’s well-known speculative fiction, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The play was directed by Janette Gaines. The character, Ichabod Crane was played by Lucas Schmidt. The setting took place in the small fictional town of Tarry Town. The play took the audience back in time to 17th century around1790. Although there are several versions of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, this story’s plot was focused on the legend of a Hessian soldier, Major Andre, who was beheaded by a cannonball during the Revolutionary War. The legend tells of a headless horseman who rides to battle every night in search of his head.
The characters wore colorful costumes that resembled the late 17th to early 18th century. The women wore different variations of colorful skirts and jackets with accessories such as shawls, scarves and ribbons. The women also wore long Greek chemise gowns with petticoats. It appeared that some of the dresses consisted of silk with metallic looking sequences while some of the more simple dresses worn by the peasant women appeared to be plain with just a scarf or shawl. The men wore long-tail coats with pants and some of the villagers wore suspenders and overalls. Some men wore knee length pants with long coats and top hats. Children’s wear consisted of girls wearing dresses called frocks and the boys wore pants with jackets and shirts with ruffles.
The first scene of the play opens as the villagers wait on their new schoolmaster, Ichabod Crane. When Ichabod finally arrives in Sleepy Hollow, his nervous and superstitious personality casts a gloom over the villagers who enjoy playing pranks and he soon becomes the unfortunate target of a man by the name of Brom Bones who portrays a bully in the play. Given Ichabod’s polite manners and his singing, he tends to impress the ladies, especially one in particular, Katrina Van Tassel. Katrina uses Ichabod to make Brom jealous but little does anyone know that Ichabod has his own deceitful motives. He is interested in Katrina not for her beauty but for her wealth. Once Brom hears that Ichabod believes in ghosts, he plots to rid his unwelcomed rival from Tarry Town. This is the perfect storyline of how a man versus the legend of the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow.
In this play there appears to be three characters with their own agendas, Katrina, Brom and Ichabod. It is hard to determine who is bad or who is good. For example, everyone is good and bad. For this reason, people can identify with the characters and their struggles, goals, and eccentricities. Allowing the audience to make real life connections to the characters makes the storyline more realistic. At the same time, the storyline entertained the audience and made us laugh because it was making fun at the truths behind human nature such as pranks, jealousy, intimidation, etc. The playwright is a lighthearted comedy but yet provides intense moments because of the headless horseman. Throughout the play the audience witnesses a headless horseman wearing a black cloak carrying a jack-o-lantern. Of course this is the classic ghost storyline for the Halloween season. The play is family friendly for all ages and entertains the free-spirited looking for an adventure on a cool, crisp autumn night.
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