If you haven't done so already, you might want to catch Portland Stage Company of Maine's Tales of Washington Irving -- before Rip falls back asleep for another twenty years. Adapted by Bartlett Sher, the world premiere production closes on April 4.
The adaptation combines puppets, storytelling, and live music to bring to life classic lore like Rip Van Winkle and Ichabod Crane.
Tales features five classics by Irving -- "Rip Van Winkle," "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," "Wolfert Webber (or Golden Dreams)," "The Devil," "Tom Walker," and "The Storm Ship."
Irving based "Rip Van Winkle" on a German folktale, set in the Dutch culture of Pre-Revolutionary War in New York State. Published in Irving's "The Sketch Book" (1819-20). Rip Van Winkle is a farmer who wanders into the Catskill Mountains. He meets there a group of dwarfs playing ninepines. Rip helps a dwarf and is rewarded with a draught of liquor. He falls into enchanted sleep. When he awakens, 20 years later, the world has changed. He is an old man with a long, white beard. Rip goes into town and finds everything changed. His wife is dead, his children are grown. The old man entertains the people with tales of the old days and his encounter with the dwarfs.
Irving used also other German folktales in his short stories, among them "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," which popularizes the images of the villainous "Headless Horseman" and the geeky schoolmaster, Ichabod Crane. The story was popularized in a Disney-fied adaptation in 1949, and is currently being adapted in another film starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton ("Edward Scissorhands", "Batman"). Adapter Sher directs a cast including Aled Davies, Allen Gilmore, Darrell James, Edward P. Kiniry-Ostro, Susan Riley Stevens, Ed Bauer, Alex Brinkman Young, Jocelyn Gammon, Alexandra Heller and Noah Shibley.
For tickets ($18 - $30) or more information, call (207) 774-0465.
-- By Sean McGrath