Alina, a teen girl, is struggling with the anxiety of an ongoing custody battle between her parents. Meanwhile, she is taking on the responsibilities of her schoolwork, her friends, and taking care of her younger sister who has debilitating asthma. As she is set to testify in an upcoming hearing, Alina escapes through her favorite story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. This show intertwines Alina's modern story with the classic story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, using the words of Washington Irving himself. Can Alina find the courage to stand up to her father, who is hiding a dark secret? Approximate run time: 30 - 35 minutes.
With Trevin McLaughlin
What inspired you to write this play?
The journey started with an incredibly talented one-act play performing group. I wanted to challenge myself as a director, and I realized one genre I hadn’t explored was horror/gothic. After reading several plays, I was inspired by the theatricality of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and I wanted to tie in a modern story as well that my students would be able to connect with.
What’s your favorite part or line in the play? Why?
I love the scene where Alina suffers a panic attack. We get to see the pressure Alina feels trying to please everyone around her, and the creeping in of the Sleepy Hollow forest allows for some incredible theatrically to a moment we have all experienced in our lives. In the beautiful moment at the end when Brit calls out, we realize that Brit is the one thing that keeps Alina moving forward and serves as her calming connection to the world and her purpose. This was a moment that my students related to and appreciated.
Where did the characters come from? Are they based on people you know?
In my teaching career I have had many students who live in split custody situations, and this story was inspired by their journeys. I did quite a bit of research on child psychology to be able to tastefully handle the dangerous relationship between Alina and Brit and their father. I highly encourage performing groups to do their research and handle these moments with care.
What did you try to achieve with this play?
I wanted to challenge my performing group with high-quality literature, but also give them something I knew they could find success with. I also wanted them to be motivated by a relatable story and character they all cared for. The final result was a production that told Alina’s story with love and brought an immense amount of life to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Do you have anything else to add?
I encourage you to find the differences in tone between the forest scenes in Sleepy Hollow and the story within the town. The more playful the non-forest scenes are, the more impactful the dramatic moments can be.