As the old legend goes, upon death, our soul is imperishable. It wanders for 40 days and 40 nights before moving on to the afterlife, or it can enter another’s body, wreaking havoc on its host during its days of passing.
And in that time, it may take over, to become, forever, a vampyre.
Most people from this day and age know vampires as fanged tooth, blood sucking, bat morphing lotharios. Their image has evolved from the gothic, undead castle-dwelling figure of Bram Stoker’s Dracula to those sparkling, love-sick beings from Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series.
But the origins of the vampire (or vampyre as was originally written) are much deeper and darker as visitors to Caravan Farm Theatre will see Saturday when the farm opens its gates to the 10th annual Walk of Terror.
Thought up by Caravan’s artistic director Courtenay Dobbie, with the help of designer/creators Scott Crocker, Anita Rochon and Emilia Symington-Fedy, this year’s Walk of Terror theme should creep into the soul without relying on the gore of so many horror tales of today.
“Vampires and zombies are so popular right now, I didn’t want to do the typical vampire show,” said Dobbie.
Instead, the Caravan crew looked into the origins of the nocturnal creature and its blood sucking legacy. Turns out, it was souls the original vampires were more interested in.
“I thought it would be way cooler to riff on that. In mythology, they talk about vampires being shapeshifters, and so we will have a few bats to adhere to that part of the story,” said Dobbie.
The design team has already come up with a number of creepy costumes and props that will be used by live actors on the outdoor walk that takes people around part of the farm — in the dark.
“We have 50-plus community volunteers that are part of it. They are great and go into it with full gusto,” said Dobbie. “Some have a performance or artistic interest and some are not necessarily performers but like to support Caravan. And people like getting dressed up.”
Adding to the creepiness will be a screening of 1922 German black and white film Nosferatu, which will be shown during the walk and also as a backdrop to the musical performance by Hank and Lily in Caravan’s barn venue afterwards.
Hailing from Victoria, Hank Pine and Lily Fawn are not only musicians but performance artists who like to dress for the occasion, and not only for Halloween.
“Lily wears deer horns as part of her costume and Hank wears a gas mask when he performs. Their esthetic is crazy and their music is like modern disco. It’s very danceable,” said Dobbie.
Those who go on the Walk of Terror are also welcome to dress in their own Halloween finery, with prizes given for best costume at the dance.
The Walk of Terror opens Caravan’s theatre season, which continues with the winter sleigh ride production of Little Brother, Little Sister, written by Toronto playwright Adam Underwood.
“It’s based one of the Brothers Grimm’s lesser-known fairytales,” said Dobbie. “It’s about accepting change, forgiveness, and the love between a brother and sister. It has some comedy and will be light and family-oriented.”
Caravan’s summer production, The Tragical Comedy of Punch and Judy, by Victoria playwright Jacob Richmond, with music by Hank Pine (yes of Hank and Lily), is inspired by the famed puppet commedia dell’arte show of the same name.
“It’s a brand, new comedy with a circus feel and will feature horse-drawn carts and all sorts of crazy characters,” said Dobbie.
Visitors to Caravan will also get to meet the farm’s new residents: Clydesdale teams Spike and Frenchie and Jack and Sunny, who will join the other horses in pulling the sleighs this winter.
“Thanks to generous donations last season, we purchased not one, but two teams of Clydesdales,” said Dobbie, adding fundraising for a new horse shelter was also successful thanks, in part, to a CD the cast from Caravan’s summer production of Head over Heels sold to audiences.
“We are also raising money for a brand, new barn for the horses, which we will continue to do this season.”
Gates to Saturday’s 10th annual Walk of Terror at Caravan Farm Theatre open at 6:30 p.m. The walk starts at 7 p.m., with the performance by Hank and Lily at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18/adults and $22 at the gate. Children 12 and under are $6. Reserve online at www.ticketseller.ca or by phone, at 250-549-7469.