There was no excuse for anyone to stay indoors if they didn’t want to on the warmest Halloween on record. While the players waited in their appointed area in the Nature Reserve in keen anticipation, Jan and John loitered on the pavement, dressed as a masked witch and in a kimono respectively. No-one could have missed them. By the time John had taught four volunteers how to repeat a simple Japanese phrase for use later, the crowd had swelled to just over twenty people. Exhorting them to be mindful of their wellbeing, their journey began.
The audience were led down the first set of steps to ‘The Gates of Hell’ where they encountered an exotic creature in big hat, feather boa and silk wrap. It was Alison who explained how, in times past, the Japanese scoured the country to gather spooky tales. She finished her set with a blood-curdling cackle. The torchlit procession wound its way down through the trees to the acting area, Music, smoke and flaming torches added to the atmosphere. A huge oriental banner set the scene; the battlements where Hamlet encounters the ghost of his father (or does he?), all with a Japanese flavour. Next, accompanied by eerie music, Erik told a mysterious tale of a strange maiden who appeared one day in a bizarre sea-craft.
John then re-entered the arena and gathered his four volunteers. As they repeated their phrases, the three torches were extinguished one by one. When the final phrase was said, the main light was killed to leave the audience in darkness. Then it was re-lit and the audience invited to linger while enjoying sake and authentic Japanese snacks. At last it was time to break the set and adjourn to the Old Mill. Art Plumstead’s Third Halloween had been a success, re-animating a long-stashed collection of Japanese costumes to provide a memorable experience at no cost to the audience.
“Loved last night. Well done all of u” M D by text
“Dear Eric,dear All,
“Very enjoyable. 有難うございます” D (the Japanese translates as thank you very much -Erik)
“Thanks for a fabulously different Hallowe’en. Arigato gezaimasu!” D