Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday theatre: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the Hilarious Ride of the Headless Stick-Horseman


Well, guess what Kayla the introvert did today?  She saw a play!  What's more, she saw it by herself!  :b  While I do enjoy theatre, I find that it can be quite overstimulating, all of the noise and being surrounded by people.  I typically do not go unless someone else suggests it.

For whatever reason, I felt like seeing a play, and although I normally would've cast the silly feeling aside as I normally do because I'm just too afraid to actually act on it, I decided to actually see a play.  I looked up what was playing in the afternoon and found only one play, a children's play.

"Well," I said to myself, "it says it's hilarious, and I could use something to lift my mood right now."

And so, I decided to see The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the Hilarious Ride of the Headless Stick-Horseman.

Geez, that's a long title...

Although this wasn't a play that required looking particularly nice, as a woman greatly interested in fashion, I felt the need to look my best.  Not wanting to look too out of place, though, I chose a casual dress that also had an elegant edge to it.  I also did what I call "minimal make-up," meaning no blush and no eyeshadow, just enough to look nice.

My darling kitten, Lasagna, decided that she wanted to pose with me, and by decided, I mean I grabbed her before she could get away.  She didn't seem to mind, though.  She's even looking at the camera!  D'aw!

After getting all gussied up, I headed to the theatre, and by theatre, I mean, well...I'm no expert on theatre terms, to be honest, but I guess it's as its name might suggest, more of a workshop.

Yes, it's the Live Theatre Workshop in Tucson!  This was a far drive for me as I live in very far north Tucson, so far north that I am technically not in Tucson but in a town called Oro Valley.  That's how it is, though.  Theatre is pretty nonexistent in Oro Valley, so anytime I want to see a play, I must drive to downtown Tucson, so this was a completely expected drive.

I have been to LTW only a couple times.  The last time I was here was a couple years ago, and I do not actually remember what the play was.  I recall there being masks, but nothing beyond that.  Rather, I remember more the company I was with.  It was a fun time, so I immediately felt happy just to be here.  I also recalled that there was a dessert shop next door called Something Sweet, but I was sad to see that it has closed.  :(  Well, no matter.  I was there for the theatre!

Inside, I bought my ticket and managed to get a prime seat in the second row in the center.  Well, actually, I was there quite early, so it wasn't really an impressive feat at all.  The first thing I noticed were the children, and I was immediately reminded that this was indeed a play intended for children.  In fact, I think I was one of the only adults there without a child accompanying me, and probably the only adult who didn't at least have a date or spouse with me.  Did I feel silly?  Being the introvert that I am, I must say that yes, I did feel a little subconscious about that, but I reminded myself that NO ONE CARED.  No matter what that voice in my head tells me, no one was looking at me, no one was thinking I was strange for being there by myself.

Then again, many people mistake me for being a young teenager, so perhaps I just seemed like another child to them!

The introvert in me was immediately overwhelmed and wanted to run away, to hide, but I battled that urge.  I paid money to be here, after all!  I instead focused on the set and reminisced about my short-lived acting career back in high school.

Ah, yes, when I was a junior in high school, I myself was cast in a rendition of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  Yes, I was very shy, but for whatever reason, when I had a script and knew exactly what to do, I found that I could pretend that I wasn't shy, just for that moment.  The audience didn't both me at all.  I didn't have a large part.  I was just a witch.  My family had just moved from Okinawa, so I was new to the school and wasn't quite bold enough to audition for any main roles.  Not that I would've gotten them, of course.  Anyway, the play didn't turn out very good.  I mean, it was okay.  We had fun.  I know that the writer of the play we put on actually showed up for one of our performances, which was neat, although he never introduced himself to us, so I guess we scared him off?  :b

As I waited for this play to begin, I was pleasantly surprised to hear Grim Grinning Ghosts play over the speakers.  Other "spooky" songs played as well, but Grim Grinning Ghosts is a particular favorite of mine.  I also appreciated the connection to the Disney version of the Sleepy Hollow legend, though I am sure that was not intentional.  The man who sang Grim Grinning Ghosts, Thurl Ravenscroft, also sang a version of Headless Horseman from the Disney version (not the version featured in the film, mind you).

At last, a man walked onto the stage, a man named Mike Saxon who would also be playing Baltus Van Tassel in the play.  He addressed the children and told some silly jokes.  He had everyone stand up and "scare" the people around them.  The introvert in me chose to stay seated.  I can only take so much!  Perhaps if I had been with company, I would've done it just for fun, but as an adult all by myself, it just wasn't something I felt comfortable doing.  I had actually made the effort to come here, and that was probably going to knock out my energy for the rest of the day, after all!  I could at least feel proud about that.

Now, what to say about the play itself?  First of all, I am no theatre expert.  I can only offer my insight as a casual theatre-goer just looking for a good time.  I knew going in that it would be a silly play geared toward children, so I was not expecting much, but I was actually pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  I was smiling the whole time, genuinely smiling, laughing with what I was seeing and experiencing and not at it.

The children were all laughing, too.  They were definitely well-entertained and very amused, actively participating and enjoying everything.  That was probably one of the biggest goals of this performance, and they seemed to hit it well.

There were only four actors in this play.  I would say that the weakest was probably Melissa Arnaud who played Katrina Van Tassel, but her biography in the program said she loves cats, so that automatically makes her awesome!  :b  Actually, I would just say that her performance was decent, good enough.  I can't say she was an excellent actor, and I certainly can't say that she will go on to be great, but she was not a distraction, and she seemed to be having a lot of fun.

Mike Saxon, who played Baltus Van Tassel, was probably the next weakest actor, but I enjoyed his performance as well.  Amazing?  Memorable?  No, but he was dedicated, for sure.

Nowell Kral, who played Ichabod Crane, was actually quite endearing.  He had an enchanting smile and brought a special charm to the bumbling character of Ichabod.  Something about him just made me happy.  He actually reminded me of someone I know, a man that I love.  I don't know if I can say he was a great actor, but he certainly has charisma and drive, and that was probably more important in a production like this.

Tyler West was certainly the most entertaining and talented of the bunch.  Now, I don't mean to call attention to his size, but I cannot write an adequate review of his performance without saying that he is a dwarf.  It was certainly an interesting choice to cast a dwarf as Brom Bones who is supposed to be big.  No attention was ever called to his height, which was, I thought, a very wise decision.  There were many opportunities to draw attention to his height, but instead, the only focus was on the strength and athletic ability of his character.  In an age when we are trying so hard to combat bullying among children, I was pleased to see this.  Plus, his size did not impede his talent.  He was easily my favorite and the most enjoyable to watch.  He had great energy and play his parts well.  In addition to Brom, he was also the Headless Stick-Horseman.  I greatly enjoyed this role, actually.  The voice he used was hilarious.  He reminded me of Roger from American Dad, actually!  Really fun stuff.

The play itself was short, only forty minutes, but it actually felt quite a bit longer, in a good way.  Like, I felt like I had had just enough by the end of it.  The story was familiar in some ways but so different in others.  The twist at the end was cute.  I thought that they would use West's height to their advantage as the Headless Stick-Horseman, so I was quite surprised to find that it was actually his stick-horse that was headless, not him!  That was, in a word, adorable.  I just could not stop smiling.  There was plenty of fourth-wall-breaking and silly jokes, but they all worked.  You know, I never felt like I was laughing or smiling out of pity.  I really did just enjoy it.  It was exactly what I needed, just a bit of cheerfulness.

Overall, I would give the performance three out of five peridots.  Was it amazing?  No.  Did it live it up to what it was meant to be?  Yes.  Did it exceed expectations?  Definitely.  I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, but if someone wanted to see it, I wouldn't turn them away from it.

When the play ended, the actors went out into the lobby to say goodbye to everyone as they left.  I then did something else that took quite a bit of bravery, something I'm still surprised I was able to do.

I asked to get a picture with the actors.


Please excuse my poor posture.  I have a terrible habit of arching my back and not putting my shoulders back.  >.<  I'm working on it; I promise!

It was an enjoyable afternoon, one that I am glad I did.  It was very exhausting, yes.  As an introvert, these sorts of things can be very draining.  I wasn't even doing anything, really, just observing, but it was extremely stimulating and enough to make me want to nothing but relax for the rest of the day.

I want to see more plays, though.  Live Theatre Workshop provided me with a charming experience, and I would be happy to go again and hopefully get another dose of enjoyment.

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