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SANBORNTON — ”Dark Of The Moon”, a drama by Howard Richardson and William Berney and directed by Craig Jaster, will be performed December 15-16-17 at 7 p.m., in the Sant Bani School Studio Theater.
The play begins on the peak of a ridge somewhere deep in the Smoky Mountains on a windy, moonless night, and ends a year later as the moon comes up on the same lonely spot.
John, a “witch boy” (played by senior Caleb Jaster) has fallen in love with a beautiful and carefree human girl (freshman Sophia Gilberto) named Barbara Allen. With the help of old Conjur Man and Woman (staff members Jonathan Powell and Mary Randall), he gets his wish to become human, too, on the condition that they marry and that Barbara remain faithful to him for one year.
Barbara tells John “hit don’t differ” what the townspeople think. But suspicions grow about the strange stranger who marries her, especially when he refuses to set foot in church. “That’s one thing I can’t never do,” John tells Barbara, but keeps the secret to himself how if he does, it will waken the witch within that lies sleeping inside. him On the couple’s insistence, Preacher Haggler (senior Andres Orr), agrees to marry them in the general store, but soon he leads all the well-meaning folk of Buck’s Creek, including in the end even Barbara’s own loving family, in an all-out effort to convince Barbara that it is “the will a Gawd” for her to leave John, not knowing what the tragic consequences will be.
The play is a poignant illustration of how difficult it can be to leave our past behind. And the outside pressures against John changing are just as powerful: the townspeople begin to turn against him after the Saturday night dance, when he forgets himself and uses his old ways to win a fight against Marvin Hudgens (junior Obie Dancewicz-Helmers), until now the strongest young man in town and the most likely prospect to marry Barbara. In addition, John’s former witch friends from the mountain (freshmen Teresa Dancewicz-Helmers and Stefanie Schechter and junior Patricia Boegli) are always lurking nearby to taunt and try to tempt him away from the difficult day to day life of being human.
The play stands out for its authentic, rich language and distinctive dialect; for live music: old bluegrass and gospel tunes are picked and sung throughout; and for the vividness of its many characters (it features a cast of 24). And though a serious drama, there is no shortage of humor, especially in the role of old Uncle Smelicue (director Craig Jaster in his debut acting in a Sant Bani production), who keeps everyone entertained down at the general store playing mandolin and telling stories.
The production is not recommended for younger children. Parents are advised that some of the content and themes are mature.
Admission $5/$2.50 students and senior citizens. For reservations or more information, call the school at 934-4240.
Sant Bani students Caleb Jaster and Sophia Gilberto perform in “Dark of the Moon” at Sant Bani School Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. (Courtesy photo)