Myriad versions of the 300-year-old ballad “Barbara Allen” have come down to us. Our dad sings that Ms. Allen’s suitor dies of lovesickness after her rejection. Guilt-ridden and lonely, she swiftly follows suit, and the plants that spring from their graves twine together forever. Awww.
The 1942 play Dark of the Moon locates the tale in the Appalachians. Babs’ squeeze is a witch boy turned human by love (once played by Paul Newman!). The other characters, supernatural and mortal alike, will never, never understand. The horrible, sad denouement’s unsuitable for small children, but the story is beautiful and enlightening, with occasional eruptions of old-timey song. Peoria’s Theater Works’ production, through Sunday, May 11, employs both live actors and puppets to pump up the dreamy, haunted mojo. The Saturday, April 26, performance begins at 7:30 p.m. at 8355 West Peoria Avenue. For tickets, $13 to $31, call 623-815-7930 or visit www.theaterworks.org.