Theatre: Dark of the Moon
Dark of the Moon is a dramatic play written by William Berney and George Richardson in 1942. The play was originally written as a dramatization of "The Ballad Of Barbara Allen" and was simply called Barbara Allen. It was remade for Broadway and had its first performance in 1945.It is set in the Smoky Mountains. The central characters are John, a witch boy who just wants to be human, and Barbara Allen, his human love interest, who has become pregnant by him. John tries to get his mentor Conjur Man to change him, but he flat out refuses. The Conjur Woman then agrees to change John, on one condition: Barbara Allen has to marry him, and be faithful for a year.Cut to a friendly social gathering in the village of Buck Creek. It is revealed that Barbara Really Gets Around, and also that she is quite the singer. John comes in to dance with Barbara, but he gets into a scuffle with the local Jerk Jock, Marvin Hudgins. Having some witch power left in him, John easily defeats him and takes Barbara as his own.John asks Barbara to marry him in front of her family, and she accepts. They get the minister, Preacher Haggler, to wed them in the general store because John can never go into a church. John puts a ring on Barbara's hand, and the bystanders see with horror that it is the same ring that went missing from a grave a few days ago.A while later, John is (unsuccessfully) chopping firewood for him and Barbara. He is tempted by two female witches to leave Barbara and become a witch again, but he is brought back to his senses by Barbara's call. Barbara is now very pregnant, and worries about having enough wood for winter. Marvin comes along and beats John easily now that his witch powers are gone.In the next scene, Barbara Allen is asleep after just having given birth. The midwife, Mrs. Sumney, is watching over her. Her mother comes in and asks where the baby is. Mrs. Sumney tells her with horror that the baby is burning in a fire because it was born a monster. All of the townspeople become certain that John is really a witch.The two witches visit the Conjur Man and tell him that John is going to break his bargain and ask for another chance. The Conjur Man makes a bet with them that he won't. If the Conjur Man wins, the witches have to leave John alone. If the witches win, they get to take the life of Barbara Allen.That night, Barbara is forced to go to a revival meeting at Preacher Haggler's church. Marvin Hudgins confesses that he lusted after Barbara, but God had told him that it wasn't a sin. Barbara is told by Haggler that she has to get rid of John forever. Marvin then rapes Barbara with the approval from the church people.The witches appear before Barbara as she frantically looks for John. She ignores their taunting and runs off. John returns to the Conjur Man, looking for the Conjur Woman. Despite Conjur Man's protest, John finds her and asks to keep him human. The witches reappear, victorious. They tell him that Barbara is going to die. John runs off to find her. The two apologize to each other, and embrace fearfully as Barbara dies. The moon appears, turning John into a witch again.
This play contains examples of:
- A Chat with Satan - The witch gals try to bring out the residual witch in John to change his mind.
- Can Not Spit It Out - Conjur Man
- The Dark Side Will Make You Forget - John's fate at the end.
- Downer Ending
- Drunken Song - The Allens and Preacher Haggler.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep - We never learn the names of Conjur Man or Conjur Woman.
- Evil Versus Evil - The witches might be pretty evil, but the humans aren't all that nice either.
- Fetus Terrible - Barbara gives birth to a deformed witch baby.
- Funetik Aksent - Ev'rybody talk in a real suth'n dilect.
- Henpecked Husband - Mr. Allen.
- Hugh Mann
- I Just Want to Be Normal - The entire premise of the play.
- Jerk Jock - Marvin Hudgins.
- Line-of-Sight Name - John...Human!
- Love at First Sight
- Rape Portrayed as Redemption - The reason the townsfolk approve of Barbara Allen's rape. Which, by the way vows and bets were stacked, ends up being a very twisted "Redemption" Equals Death.
- Sinister Minister - Preacher Haggler.
- Squishy Wizard - John might have been powerful as a witch, but has trouble with any physical task once he becomes human.
- Star-Crossed Lovers