Dark of the Moon Program


Dark WitchJulie Anderson
Barbara AllenChristine Bain
Mr. BergenDavid Birney
Miss MetcalfKay Brand
Hank GudgerKurt Braun
Preacher HagglerLou Dominic
Mrs. SummeyJulie Hessom
Fair WitchDawn Marie Himlin
Edna SummeyKryzzy Hobson
Marvin HudgensRandy Howell
Uncle SmelicueJohn Ivey
Mrs. BergenKristine Kacee
Florence "Flo" AllenAmber Lehning
Mr. SummeyJim Millard
Conjur Man/Mr. AllenJim Payton
Conjur Woman/Mrs. AllenElaine Rinner-Singer
John, the Witch BoyJonathan Sachs

Julie Anderson

Christine E. Bain

David Birney

Kay Brand

Kurt Braun

Lou Dominic

Julie Hessom

Dawn Marie Himlin

Kryzzy Hobson

Randy Howell

John Ivey

Kristine Kacee

Amber Lehning

Jim Millard

Jim Payton

Elaine Rinner-Singer

Jonathan Sachs
Photographs supplied by Tony Eisenhower

Pomerado Newspaper Group

Theatre Revue

Dark Moon risin' at Poway's PAC

"dark of the moon" is just as its name implies - dark. intriguino ~ and something mystical - when the moon takes over the night sky.

The Poway Performing Arts Company doesn't mind taking a gamble on Howard Richardson and William Berney's 1940 piece, based on the folk song "barbara allen." about the Appalachian girl Barbara Allen and John. the Witch Boy - two doomed lovers.

Director Annette Huffman and the crew deserve special applause for transforming a small stage from an Appalachian town one minute to a misty hillside the next, and the cast can take a bow for taking a chance on a play that would seem controversial to some. but a delicious tragi-comedy to others.

Final performances are this weekend: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 2 p.m. Sunday, at 13250 Poway Road. Tickets are for general admission. for seniors and students. For reservations, call ~858) 679-8085.

PowPAC advertises this play as PG-13. so skip bringing the kids.

Dance scenes between Jonathan Sachs and Dark Witch, Julie Anderson, and White Witch, Dawn Marie Himlin, are sexually charged. but certainly not X-rated. since PowPAC's reputation has never been to present anything lewd, but the scenes add to what should definitely be advertised as a sexual, adult theme.

When John falls in love with Barbara Allen heknows he can't continue a relationship without the intervention of either Conjure Man or Conjure Woman.

Conjure Woman agrees to help John become human with one condition:

Barbara Allen must remain faithful to John for one full year. Conjure Man listens in, but refuses to be part of the scenario.

With the spell cast. John asks Barbara Allen's father for her hand in marriage and a short time later the two marry inside the general store, not the church.

Tongues wag. especially since the townsfolk already know Barbara Allen is "with child."

There's high-energy especially when the close-knit townsfolk sing and dance. yet their steady diet of superstition and fear. and the direction of "god's will." or rather the pastor's and the congregation's intretation of the words feeds the plays's undercurrent of evil versus good.

Sachs plays his part in the most understated of ways. as Christine Bain, Barbara Allen, shows a fiery almost promiscuous side. Sparks fly between the two, giving all the more reason to believe their on-stage passion.

Elaine Rinner-Singer plays dual roles of Barbara Allen's mother and Conjure Woman, while Jim Payton deftly plays her partner as Barbara Allen's father and Conjure Man. Hillbilly parents one moment and scraggly spell-casters the next, the two know how to run the gamut of emotion and comedy, adding the perfect balance to the show.

Boisterous and bold, Randy Howell is the perfect redneck, as Barbara Allen's boyfriend, Marvin Hudgens.

Other cast members include: Amber Lehning, John Ivey, Kurt Braun, Kay Brand, David Birney, Kryzzy Hobson, Kristine Kacee and Millard.

Jim Millard's lighting, set design by Russell Orr, sound by Lou Alliano and costumes by Lynee Ciccarelli set the mood with the help of a running waterfall, mossy rocks and mist that creeps in.

ProducersRuss & Linda OrrMake-upShari Lyons
DirectorAnnette HuffmanScenic ArtistC'Dale Gross
Ass. Director/Stage ManagerKathy McCaffertyPropertiesC'Dale Gross, Marianne Mowrer, Mary Lou Reyen
Set DesignRuss OrrHouse ManagementKim Hull
Lighting DesignJim MillardSound TechnicianKristina Putnam
Sound DesignLou AllianoLight TechnicianLisa Smigels
Costume DesignLynne CiccarelliProgramJessica Umhoefer
Costume AssistantsKryzzy Hobson & Jessica UmhoeferPublicityTisha Tyler
ChoreographyDawn Marie HimlinSet ConstructionRuss Orr, Michael Scahill, Chris Robinson, Jim Millard, Roger Willoughby, Peggy Hughes, C'Dale Gross, Kathy McCafferty, Annette Huffman, Dawn Himlin, Donna La Grecco, Kristine Kacee, Lou Dominic, Bill Faye, Lou Alliano, Kryzzy Hobson, David Kelso, Christine Bain, Mary Lou Reyen, Brenda Robinson
Musical DirectionLinda Orr  

Moon Conjures Natural, Supernatural Worlds

By Jennifer Young
Contributing Writer

The Poway Performing Arts Company has taken another gamble with its controversial production of Dark of the Moon.

Written by Howard Richardson and William Berney in the early 1940s, Dark of the Moon is a tragicomic fantasy based on the folk song "Barbara Allen." This version of the popular English and Scottish ballad tells the story of the forbidden love between Barbara Allen and John, the Witch Boy.

John is given the chance to become human in order to marry his sweetheart, Barbara Allen, on the condition that she remain faithful to him for one year after their wedding.

Set in Appalachia, the play exposes a small town's hypocrisy and brutality and explores such subjects as church corruption, peer pressure, lust, guilt and fear. In addition, it explores both the dichotomy and the interconnectedness of the natural and the supernatural worlds.

This poses a challenge to director Annette Huffman, who creates two separate worlds onstage simultaneously. Joined by her able crew, made up of Russ Orr (set), Jim Millard (lighting), Lou Alliano (sound) and Lynne Ciccarelli (costumes), Huffman conveys both a small village and a magical forest (complete with mossy, misty hills and a real running waterfall).

Netherworld forest folk Julie Anderson as the Dark Witch and Dawn Marie Himlin as the Fair Witch are perfect foils for one another; one is dark and butch, the other light and femme.

These witch women are hypnotic to watch as they compete for John's affections and explore each other's bodies. They add a fierce sexual charge to the show with their sensual dances choreographed by Himlin.

The tightly knit Smoky Mountain townsfolk are equally captivating. Consumed with superstition and fear, these ensemble actors add heightened energy to the play, particularly Randy Howell as Barbara Allen's doltish redneck beau Marvin Hudgens. The ensemble performers are at their best in the final church scene, when they impose a terrifying collective will onto members of the congregation.

Copper-haired Christine Bain tackles the demanding female leading role, playing Barbara Allen first as a promiscuous coquette and flirtatious free spirit who enjoys "pleasuring herself" with as many menfolk as possible. Bain then morphs into a loving but confused wife whose faithfulness is put on the line.

Jonathan Sachs as the pale-skinned, raven-haired John, the Witch Boy, gives an understated performance as the man caught between two realms. Though Sachs' delivery is slightly flat at the beginning of the play, he comes alive when sharing the stage with Anderson, Himlin and especially Bain. Sachs and Bain share an intense chemistry that anchors the show.

Though portions of the play become melodramatic and somewhat campy, Huffman is careful to keep her cast in check.

For example, when Jim Payton as Mr. Allen delivers roaringly funny lines about concern over his daughter being the town slut, he never goes over the top. Instead, he seems to believe in his convoluted world, and because of this, the audience believes, too. Payton is also terrific when transforming into the hunch-backed, hoarse-voiced Conjure Man.

Elaine Rinner-Singer as Mrs. Allen and the Conjure Woman tackles her dual roles successfully, as well. She begins as a hag-like meddler, then hecomes an anguished mother, moved to tears by the sermon delivered by moonshine-drinking Preacher Haggler (Lou Dominic).

The cast is rounded out with excellent performances by Arnber Lehning, John Ivey, Kurt Braun, Kay Brand, David Birney, Kryzzy Hobson, Kristine Kacee and Jim Millard.

Don't miss Dark of the Moon, a play that sparks such controversy and interest that you will be talking about it for days to come.

Dark of the Moon runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. through October 3. The Poway Performing Arts Company is located at 13250 Poway Road in Poway. For tickets or more information, call (858) 679-8085.