Halloween Free

The evening begins on an ordinary street in Plumstead

The evening begins on an ordinary street in Plumstead

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 stage is set; the battlements

The stage is set; the battlements

The tension mounts

The tension mounts

...Hamlet, King, father, royal Dane...the ghost appears

…Hamlet, King, father, royal Dane…the ghost appears

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.

A mysterious tale unfolds

A mysterious tale unfolds

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.

And soon the darkness

And soon the darkness


“Loved last night. Well done all of u” M D by text

“Dear Eric,dear All,

“What a marvellous experience you made for us – the journey into the unknown dark, alone but together, the touching humanity of small lights, and then arrival into a different world.The music and the trees circled all, like the princess’s boat,& gave such space to really listen to the spare words,as the stillness did for the masterful movement.
I didn’t think you could surpass Beowulf, but perhaps you did.
Thank you.
Till next year, please”
J by email
“It was such a wonderful happening. Thank you Art Plumstead for everything you do for us ! We are so lucky that you put on these performances which are interesting, stimulating and FUN. I loved it and I learnt something new about Japanese culture. The traditional tale of the woman adrift in the boat will stay with me – haunting!” J on Facebook

“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


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