OCTOBER 31, 2001
DESIGNED BY SOPHIA MICHAHELLES
The witch. We have all seen her... that ubiquitous silhouette, riding her broomstick against the sharp outline of the full moon. But, do you ever wonder, as Halloween approaches, where this image comes from? Did we inherit this cookie-cutter archetype from the Wizard of Oz? The Brothers Grimm? Salem? Clip art? Macbeth? In it's 28th year the Village Halloween Parade flew forward, but looked back - into the deep underpinnings of Halloween, to the origins of such popular images.
Leading the parade of hags was the fearsome Russian witch Baba Yaga. Known as old Bonylegs, this wild old woman of tremendous appetite devours her way through life and consumes those who, repulsed by her ugliness and afraid of her power, do not have the strength to respect and learn from her. Hailing from the place where fear and wisdom meet, Baba Yaga straddles the gap between life and death and holds the secrets of both.
At the Parade, Baba Yaga kept to the borderlands. Leaning far over the barricades into the audience, she peered into the souls of those who came to see her, keeping her red eye on the past and her blue eye in the future. Unlike her Western sisters Baba Yaga flies in a giant mortar, rowing with a pestle and sweeping her tracks with a broom. In this way she traveled from side to side of the Parade, muttering incantations and gnashing her iron teeth.
Surrounded by enchanted glowing trees, her faithful hut followed her wherever she went, dancing ecstatically on its chicken legs. From inside its candle-lit walls the silhouettes of creatures allied to Baba Yaga came together in a dance macabre. The crow, the cat, the rooster and the wolf beckoned the revelers to join them in this night when the boundaries between life and death, animate and inanimate, reality and fantasy are crossed.
BABA YAGA CREW:
ASSOCIATE DESIGNER: Alex Kahn
BUILDERS, TECHNICIANS, MARSHALLS: Bess Williamson, Kevin Taylor, Moira Sauer, Steffen Hyder, Roger Downs and Meg Aldrich
MUSICAL TEXTURES BY: John Plenge