There was an audible sigh of relief when the 4th Line Theatre decided to move forward with a fall production this year for staff, volunteers and patrons of this much-loved theatrical organization.
The new production, Bedtime Stories and other Horrifying Tales is written by Kim Blackwell and Lindy Finlan and directed by Kim Blackwell. It starts in the barnyard, then takes the audience through fields and forests on the Winslow farm as they follow a young boy in search of his mother.
Consistent with their mission, this story set in 1835 follows a local lad in search of his mother. Through a variety of entertaining vignettes, the audience learns the truth about this family’s turmoil and catches glimpses of the darker side of the community’s past, including alcohol abuse, domestic violence and the religious intolerance that plagued our past. Mark Hiscox delivered a particularly credible performance of a historical villain, provoking strong reactions to his character’s cruel, but hopefully, fictitious actions.
For the performance, the audience travels along more than a kilometer of trail that consists of paths cut through tall grasses and wooded areas. In the dark, it requires some concentration and good footwear. With twists and turns, it is easy to become disoriented but staff equipped with lanterns lead the audience and ensure no stragglers are left behind. Mandatory masks at all times allow the audience to travel the path without worrying about social distancing, but the hot breath and cold air combination make it challenging to see clearly for those wearing glasses. It’s a small price to pay for some fun in the dark.
The COVID capacity limit of 80 made it more critical to book tickets early. With frightening scenes and mature subject matters, it’s not a play for youngsters, but adults should be allowed to enjoy some Hallowe’en fright as well. We look forward to a new summer season! KG