In just a little more than a month, Sea Witches will arrive under a cloak of darkness to put a curse on our colonial capital several nights leading up to All Hallows’ Eve. They will terrorize guests in their quest for the severed head of the infamous and villainous pirate, Blackbeard. Once in their hands, the coven would gain unimaginable power to continue to do evil throughout Colonial Williamsburg. Do you dare to stand in their way?
MEET OUR WITCHES
Lee Ann is supervisor for our Nation Builders. She also portrays Jane Vobe and who she jokingly refers to as “vintage” Martha Washington. Look closely at the image at the top of the post. That’s Lee Ann! She was the first of our talented cast to transform so we could shoot a promo video for this year’s Haunting on DoG Street: Curse of the Sea Witch.
The entire process took about two hours and included heavy makeup, fake nails, fake teeth, and even fake contacts!
Lee Ann tells us the contacts were the hardest for her since she’s never worn them before. She says she also struggled to keep her teeth in place! One aspect that came a little easier is her ability to contort her body. She credits her days doing Children’s Theatre. While Lee Ann loves wearing the long finger nails when she’s portraying a Sea Witch, she says she doesn’t know how some women wear them all day every day.
To prep for this role, Lee Ann tells us she’s been reading up on Sea Witches and pirate folklore. She has also watched Maleficent and Little Mermaid to draw some inspiration. Her favorite costume of all time? Princess Leia!
When she isn’t roaming the streets at night, casting spells on unsuspecting tourists, Emily is working as a Character Interpreter. You are likely to spot her in the Historic Area on any given day portraying Mrs. Rachel Singleton Whitaker. Emily tells us her most memorable Halloween costume over the years was Charlotte from “Charlotte’s Web.” Looking back, Emily is impressed by her mother’s craftiness. She designed her a custom leotard with all the spider legs that moved whenever she adjusted her arms. Since Emily couldn’t find photos of that costume, she included another favorite, a zebra—and a close runner up!
When Jennifer isn’t busy transforming into her familiar and spying on the town, she works as a Training Specialist in the department of Research & Interpretive Education. Jennifer has researched sea witches and their connection to water, along with a few New England tales of “real” sea witches. She tell us she’ll use the best of these stories to help develop her character. So what’s her favorite costume of all time? She tells us it was when she was five years old and dressed up as Liono from The Thundercats. Her mom sewed a traditional lion costume and then painted her face just like Liono’s. She even had a cardboard sword!
When she isn’t busy shifting her shape to blend in (or stand out) in a crowd, Courtney is busy portraying tavern interpreter, Mrs. Chowning. While Courtney hasn’t had the opportunity for a full transformation yet this year, you may remember her from last year. She was the amazing zombie balancing on the fence. When it comes to what makes a character come alive, Courtney says it’s in the tiniest of details. For instance, last year, she wore red eyeliner to make her eyes look bloodshot and the reactions from guests were exactly what she was going for! This time around, she is exploring different forms of movement and researching pagan themes involving water to help further develop her Sea Witch character. Courtney’s favorite Halloween costume (though she says it was definitely tough to choose!) was a few years ago when she recreated Amelia Earhart
INSIDE THE CURSE: Q&A
What was your first thought when you learned you had been cast as a sea witch or that we were casting for these roles?
Lee Ann: I have been a witch here in Cry Witch for 18 years so it seemed an obvious choice. In the program, I’m not known to be very nice and am found “guilty” a lot.. Funny I had a professor in college tell me I could never play an evil role because no one would believe it… guess I proved that wrong!
Emily: I was very excited, I had a lot of fun with Halloween last year and it’s nice to see the entire Foundation coming together to create a fun and spooky atmosphere for our city. I really enjoy moving outside of my day job into a role that is purely fun.
Jennifer: I was overjoyed at the chance to showcase my storytelling and acting experience in the Historic Area and to add to the story CW is building. Once I was cast, there was a lot of cackling.
Courtney: I was a fence walking zombie in last year’s Halloween and I absolutely loved it! I was beyond excited when I got asked to be one of the sea witches this year.
What’s the most fun part of getting into character?
Lee Ann: Getting to be something I am not normally. I sometime call it my therapy. Plus I loved Erica Kane in “All My Children” because she got to be oh so nasty and it looked like fun.
Emily: I really enjoy being able to step into another person’s life, if only for a few hours. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, though when I was a child I would insist on being something “good,” never a goblin or a monster or a witch. As I’ve grown older, I’ve found out how much fun it is to be spooky too!
Jennifer: I love slipping into character – I leave behind the Jen who worries about everything (work stuff, bills, doctors appointments, etc) and get to live someone else’s story for a bit. Yes, the characters I portray have problems and heartaches and failures of their own, but usually it’s on a much grander scale. Jen would not be hunting for the severed head of Blackbeard the pirate for power – that’s in the sea witch’s realm. Jen hunts for her car keys or the remote. Not quite as epic.
Courtney: For me I love when the music, costuming, and movement come together to bring a story to life. I am looking forward to a different venue and apparatus to work with this year.
Who is your favorite historic or fictional “witch”?
Lee Ann: Morgan La Fey, Maleficent, and of course our resident “accused” witch Grace Sherwood
Emily: I have always been fascinated by the history of witchcraft, so it’s hard for me to pick just one person that I enjoy reading about. One of my favorite childhood books was “The Witch at Blackbird Pond” by Elizabeth George Speare, and that genre of historic fiction was probably one of the things that influenced my interest in history to this day.
Jennifer: Historically, I’d have to go with Marie Curie. Her “spellbooks” are still untouchable from all the power she gained and studied. (Truly, her notebooks are radioactive to this day and scholars who wish to see them must sign a waiver.) Fictionally, the witch who frightens me the most is the Boo Hag – common in Appalachia, though tales of her are told in one version or another world wide. She can shed her skin and fly through the night, looking for someone to feed to her “Boo Daddy”. One of the ways to protect yourself from her is to find her skin and put pepper in it before she returns from her night flight.
Courtney: The Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus! I can’t get enough of that movie!
Favorite Halloween candy?
Lee Ann: Three Musketeers!
Emily: I love all candy, but I’m most likely to fight for peanut butter M&M’s and anything with mint!
Jennifer: Tootsie rolls!
Courtney: I love Reese’s Cups!
Notice how every one of our final responses was followed by an exclamation point?! Looks like even a Sea Witch is known for her sweet tooth.
Want to see these villains in action? The curse begins at 8 p.m. the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday leading up to grand finale on Halloween night. Tickets are $25 per person but if you purchase with a group of 10, the price is discounted to $21. They’re selling out quickly so be sure to get yours while you can! And make sure you tag your pictures and videos with #CurseoftheSeaWitch. We can’t wait to see the terror that unfolds…