Theater group presents 'All Hallows Evening'

Mike Easterling
A portion of the cast gathers for a photo during a recent rehearsal for 'All Hallows Evening,' which will be presented this week by Bottom of the Barrel Productions.

FARMINGTON – When P.J. Gillen of Bottom of the Barrel Productions was pondering last summer how she’d like the local community theater company to make its return after a lengthy absence, it didn’t take her long to come up with the idea of doing a Halloween show.

Gillen quickly identified four short Halloween-based plays she found appealing, and over a four-day period this week, they’ll be grouped together for a production called “All Hallows Evening” at the Farmington Civic Center.

“I just liked the variety and felt like it would go over well with the group,” she said.

The four short plays all get into the spooky holiday spirit, but that doesn’t mean “All Hallows Evening” will put a serious fright into patrons, Gillen said, even though it features such characters as the Grim Reaper and plenty of zombies.

“There’s humor in most of them,” she said, a claim easily verified by the title of one of the shorts – “You Don’t Send Me Dead Flowers Anymore” by Jeannette Jaquish.

Karen Ray, left, Joel Irvin and Leigh Black Irvin rehearse a scene from the Bottom of the Barrell production of a series of short plays included in 'All Hallow's Eve.'

The other three shorts are “Death Takes the Train” and “Grace” by D.M. Larson, and “Cheating Death” by Kamron Kiltgaard. Gillen is directing a cast of 17 people, and she said only one of her actors is appearing in more than one role.

“We have some first-time performers, some people who have a lot of experience acting and some people from all walks of life,” she said, adding that BoB has tried to position itself as an organization that tries to make theater accessible to everyone.

Gillen said she’s been pleased with how rehearsals have progressed since they began in late September.

“Everybody’s really starting to jell, and I think we’re going to have a great show,” she said.

In its entirety, the show will last approximately 90 minutes, Gillen said, adding that it is a family-friend production, and audience members are encouraged to get in the holiday spirit by coming dressed in costume.

Unlike previous BoB productions, Gillen said all tickets to “All Hallows Evening” must be purchased through the civic center. Tickets will be available at the door, but no cash or checks will be accepted.

The production is BoB’s first since a short play competition in May 2014 that featured original works by local authors. Gillen said the company took some time off to reorganize, and she hopes “All Hallows Evening” makes a good-size splash.

“This is our way to welcome people back to BoB,” she said, explaining that many local theater fans had approached her over the group’s hiatus to ask when it would resume staging productions. “We’ve regrouped, and we’re ready to start again.”

Gillen said the company likely will mount another production in the spring, perhaps a musical or an original play by a local writer. But she said the board of directors hasn’t made a decision yet.

“We always welcome what the public tells us,” she said.

Mike Easterling is the A&E editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.

If you go

What: “All Hallows Evening” production of four short plays by Bottom of the Barrel Productions

When: 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29, Friday, Oct. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 31; and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1

Where: The Farmington Civic Center Theater, 200 W. Arrington St.

Tickets: $10 for adults, and $5 for children 18 and younger and seniors 65 and older at the civic center box officer, online at or by phone at 505-599-1144

For more information: Call 505-215-0696 or 505-860-5909