The Fox & Beggar Theater returns to the Asheville area after a four-year hiatus with OMEN: The Death & Burial of Poor Cock Robin. Based on an old English nursery rhyme, the event is an experiment in immersive theater staged for the individual.
A walkthrough “exhibit” involves a candlelit path that follows the plot of the poem through different vignettes, staged under the dark starry skies of the Hawk & Hawthorne, a permaculture-oriented land project in Barnardsville. As the Funeral Director, played by Daniel McFly, observes to new arrivals at the entrance, “We enter this life alone and we leave alone. Please enter one at a time. So sorry for your loss.”
Attendees are encouraged to wear all black out of respect for the departed, and are given a face mask adorned with a paper sparrow’s skull to be worn throughout the performance as they become part of the funeral procession and follow the lighted path around the property.
The premise allows for social distancing for the cast and crew, as well as guests. Nat Allister, managing director of Fox & Beggar, saw the challenges of presenting a theater experience during the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to lure people away from their phones and participate in an act of art — in the dark. While the show has eerie overtones and a decidedly spooky feel, it’s not what you would expect from a haunted trail. Instead, as the Fox & Beggar website aptly notes, it’s “a meditation on the uncertain future of the human race.”
OMEN is not intended for people under age 12, and all minors must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, dates and ticket availability click here.
Participant prepares to enter. (Photo by Cindy Kunst)
In the Funeral Parlor, attendees wait before entering the exhibit. (Photo by Cindy Kunst)
The Funeral Director, played by Daniel McFly, admits attendees one by one. (Photo by Cindy Kunst)
In the bushy bower of the family of Cock Robin. (Photo by Cindy Kunst)
The Beetle, played by Claire Dima, sews the shroud with its thread & needle. (Photo by Cindy Kunst)
The Fish, played by Ahnika Meyer-Wilde, catches the blood in its dish. (Photo by Cindy Kunst)
The Widow, played by Madelyn Ilana, plays a dirge on her fiddle. (Photo by Cindy Kunst)
Attendees enter the field of the Owls. (Photo by Cindy Kunst)
Leaving the dark woods trail behind, attendees hear the “mourning” Dove, played by cellist Marysia Kochac. (Photo by Cindy Kunst)
The Guide, Andrew Welsh, tends the bonfire and returns you to the world. (Photo by Cindy Kunst)
The Samhain post sentinel, around the bonfire overlooking the valley where the production takes place. (Photo by Cindy Kunst)
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