Review submitted by Evan Howard of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.
The dim mountains were illuminated with green lights and strange
designs. The bright and cheery Appalachian town filled with dancing and
bluegrass music. In Albert Einstein High School’s production of Dark of
the Moon, the audience is treated to the story of star-crossed lovers
from very different worlds trying to overcome the difficulties of their
backgrounds and communities.
Written by Howard Richardson and William Berney in the early 1940s, Dark of the Moon is based on the haunting folk ballad of Barbara Allen. The
story follows the witch-boy John who falls in love at first sight with
the beautiful Barbara Allen from the little town of Buck Creek. John
makes a deal with the mysterious Conjur Woman in order to transform into
a human and be with the woman he lovesï¿½as long as she remains
faithful to him.
Adrianna Quaide did an outstanding job of portraying Barbara’s love for
John (Ben Butler) and her resolve in continuing to love him despite
intense pressure from her family and community. She provided a very
realistic and consistent portrayal of a small town girl swept up in a
relationship with a witch-boy from the mountains. With a strong singing
voice and a stronger accent, Quaide made us feel for Barbara in her
weakest moments and root for her to succeed against all odds.
Buoying the show was the lively ensemble of townspeople, showing a
window into a small American town faced with the threat of something
strange and unfamiliar. Leading this ensemble was Carl Parkin as
Preacher Haggler, the self-righteous preacher who always “guards his
flock” and tries his best to root out any sins he perceived in the town
of Buck Creek. Parkin’s constant high energy and earnest portrayal of a
religious leader brought the rest of the town to life, whether by
leading a religious revival or holding an impromptu wedding in a general
The mountains (expertly crafted by Leaf Crooks, Byanca Morales Cabrera,
and the Einstein Production crew) spanned the entirety of the stage and
anchored the production in the enchanted setting of the Appalachian
Mountains. Serving as a base for an array of lighting effects for actors
to clamber on and around, the mountains set the tone throughout the
play. Rays of the morning sun breaking through the peaks of the
mountains or the ominous shapes concealing witches lurking in the
shadows, the expertly-crafted mountains contributed more than visual
interest to the show.
Another technical highlight was the use of makeup (Ellie Barkyoumb and
Einstein Makeup Crew) for distinguishing characters, with otherworldly
makeup used for supernatural characters and aging makeup used for the
Dark of the Moon grapples with very mature and emotional issues and is
by no means a happy story, but Albert Einstein High School did a
commendable job telling a moving tale of lost love. A well-rounded cast
and diverse set design ensured that Dark of the Moon had a little
something for everybody.
The performance reviewed was from Saturday, 11/09/2019.
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