Wiley and the Hairy Man spook up stage
When frost adorns the pumpkins and chill winds begin to blow, it means Halloween cannot be far away. What better way to celebrate the coming of fall than to see a very scary, very hairy, and a very unordinary play about a young boy who lives in the swamp and is stalked by a very big monster called the Hairy Man. "Wiley and the Hairy Man," written by Susan Zeder, is the Egyptian Theatre’s Halloween treat for audiences of all ages.
"Once people come in, they will feel like they’re in the swamp lands; the set’s amazing. We’ve pushed the Halloween edge, just enough to make it fun, but not so scary that young children won’t enjoy it," says Dana Durbano, artistic director for the Egyptian Theatre.
"Wiley and the Hairy Man" is an old African American folk tale that was first recorded in 1932. It was collected as a part of the Federal Writer’s Project under the New Deal initiated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
It is a wonderful story about a small boy with a big fear who learns to overcome a big problem on his own. The theme of fear, though, seems to challenge more than the immediate Hairy Man. Durbano questions, "Is the Hairy Man really that scary or not; is this real or is it not; is this Wiley’s dream or is this reality?"
Taking a very Cajun/Creole-style, the play is set in the deep swamp of Louisiana, where Wiley and his mama live. His constant companion and only friend is his hound dog. Wiley and his dog journey into the deepest part of the swamp and embark on a very scary adventure. The play delightfully features themes of magic, good and bad, and conjuring. A chorus of five actors brings the eerie atmosphere of Wiley’s world to life with spooky swamp sounds and physical improvisations throughout the play.
"This piece is extremely imaginative," says Durbano. "Add the light, the foggers going and this group of actors and it is delightful.
"It is certainly a professional piece of theater, with all the production qualities that patrons have learned to expect from the Egytpian. We are definitely depending on the locals to come out and support it," adds Durbano.
"Wiley and the Hairy Man," directed by Jane Talley, will run through Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. every evening with Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. at Park City’s historic Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main Street. Schools may book a school matinee on select Wednesdays by calling the theatre. Ticket prices are: adults $23, seniors $15, students $15 and children $10. To reserve tickets call the Egyptian Theatre Company box office at 649-9371.
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