There are nearly two hundred cast members, a large choir, an orchestra, and tons of folk behind the scenes at the Boar’s Head. As well as elaborate costumes and wild and crazy props. The church itself is part of the proceedings, with terrific lighting, colors, decorations, created shadows, stars on the ceiling, folk climbing down from the balcony, nimble kids walking on the backs of the pews, one doing cartwheels down the center aisle.
It is a big chaotic village having a wonderful celebration. Lots of very young and very tiny persons playing big roles with a wonderful seriousness. The first person we see in the darkened church is actually a sprite dressed in green and red, walking solemnly with a lit candle, which the Dean uses to light the huge candle on the altar. Then the sprite skips down the aisle to await his next big part at the very end.
Then the Beefeaters stomp their way in, taking their places. Soon the entire place is awash with villagers wearing clothes from 1340, and bearing the tools of their trades. The Boar’s Head is carried round, as is the mince pie and the plum pudding, each with their own companies. So many children are involved, there is so much diversity in the cast, and some in the audience itself.
The music is wonderful and magical, some, particularly later, is familiar – Adeste Fideles and other carols.
The Boar’s Head is great as theater, especially with the wonderful technical lighting and other changes. And the exuberance of the cast is a delight. It’s also a powerful experience of community and spirit, in the darkened church with all those voices raised in song.
What a treat!