Sleepy Hollow Cappie Review- Olivia McMahon


Photo by Charles Greenough

Olivia McMahon, Guest Writer

By Olivia McMahon (Junior) of Rock Ridge High School

The piercing eyes of the horse burned with the crimson glow of the forest. Twisting trees leaned in to hear the familiar fate of those who wandered the woods before dawn: a smash, a scream, and a mystery. With the break of day, the ghostly town of Sleepy Hollow would have yet another story to whisper.

Heritage High School’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” follows the intelligent, sensitive, and somewhat skittish renaissance man Ichabod Crane, who, upon his arrival to the small town of Sleepy Hollow, sets out to teach the uneducated “country bumpkin” as the new schoolmaster. A man of many talents, Ichabod quickly receives the attention of the town’s fawning ladies. None catch his eye however like the alluring Katrina Van Tassel, the jewel of Sleepy Hollow and daughter of the wealthy farmer Baltus Van Tassel. As Ichabod pursues Katrina, he learns of the chilling tales of the monstrous Headless Horseman that stalks the woods at night until he himself comes to face the demon.
Writers John Heimbuch and Jon Ferguson’s unsettling script was an instant hit in gothic theatre. The play adapts the early 1800s short story by Washington Irving into a beloved piece on the stage. Featuring period costumes and fantastical puppetry, Pride Productions at Heritage High School continued the treasured legend beautifully.
Ichabod Crane (Beau Dolan) leads the company with physicality truthful to both his flighty character and the time period itself. Unexpected to the show is the comedic timing of Ichabod brought by Dolan’s performance; every crisp word is coated in perfectly panicked humor as he voices emotions shared by the wonderfully uneasy audience. Dolan’s attention to detail is what defines his performance, going as far as to include a leg bounce in the scene after a scare in the woods that left Ichabod shaken. Alongside Dolan are a variety of strong performances with perhaps the most haunting is the beauty of Neve Holloway as Katrina Van Tassel. The elegant, regal voice of the actress makes Katrina worthy of the attention her shining white dress demands. Holloway plays Katrina with grace and adds a layer of calculated flirtation that makes audiences question the relationship of physical beauty and actual worth.
Also notable was Geoffrey Crayon (Mia Sirinsky) who opens the play with captivating monologue, painting the town of Sleepy Hollow. Her expressiveness and engagement continues when she pantomimes the short story of the Headless Horseman at the end of the first act. Mikey Leath as the resident man of faith Parson Van Houten, shows that religion towers over the town with a commanding fist. Leath’s performance provides a contrast to that of Dolan’s with his powerful voice and raging need for obedience.
Behind the scenes, creativity crossed across multiple disciplines. Starting with the gorgeous costuming by designers Jaz Camacho and Caitlin van Berkel. Girls floated in floor length gowns and guys pulled at their 1800s suit sleeves. Specifically, the costuming of the male and female leads Ichabod and Katrina added depth to the story with Dolan resembling gothic influence Edgard Allen Poe in all black attire and Holloway in a flawless white dress displaying her pure reputation. To add to visuals, pieces were composed by student Genny O’Neill that stunningly resembled the period and tense feelings of characters and audience.
Heritage High School captures the tale with seamless narrative. With final dimming of lights, there’s a faint whistle of wind and gentle fall of leaves over the town; Sleepy Hollow wasn’t the only place with a chill.