LAYTON — Just in time for Halloween, the Davis Arts Council has created a monster.
The council’s Active Pages program returns this October with the tale of Frankenstein’s monster, and the overwhelming popularity of the literature-based event has left organizers scrambling to keep up with demand.
Each year, the arts council’s Active Pages program chooses an adaptation of a book to highlight — this year it’s Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” Actors are positioned at various stations around Layton Commons Park, and as participants walk in groups from station to station each actor does a dramatic retelling of a part of the story.
At the end of the event, children under 12 years of age get to choose a free book, provided by Gibbs Smith Publisher.
This year’s event takes place from 3-9 p.m. Oct. 12 in Layton Commons Park, 437 N. Wasatch Drive, in Layton.
Kim Ridl, marketing manager for Davis Arts Council, admits organizers have been playing catch up since the idea was first floated by a board member a number of years ago.
“We underestimated the popularity last year,” Ridl said of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” last year’s inaugural offering. “We had way more people who showed up than we were able to get through the program.”
So this year, for “Frankenstein,” Ridl says they added an extra session and doubled the number of people allowed per time slot. It greatly increased the capacity of this year’s Active Pages program, but that still wasn’t enough. This year’s program sold out in a weekend.
“We set it up on a Friday, and by Monday it was sold out,” she said. “We do have a wait list, but there are about 100 names on it right now.”
Ridl admits a quick sellout is a good problem to have in the arts and entertainment business, but they’re hoping to be able to better accommodate the demand in the future.
“Next year we’re talking about doing two days — whether that’s a Friday-Saturday or two Saturdays in a row,” she said.
The “Frankenstein” Active Pages program will involve seven storytelling stations, located along a three-quarter mile path in the park. Groups of 20 people will leave every five minutes, and Ridl says the stories at each station are two to three minutes long. The whole experience takes about a half-hour.
Ridl encourages participants to arrive at the entrance at least 10 minutes before their assigned time; late arrivals will not be accommodated. All participants must have a ticket, including those carried or in strollers.
“We’ve adapted the story to be able to be comprehended by younger audiences,” Ridl said.
Organizers believes the Active Pages idea is a perfect match for Halloween. It’s held in a section of the park that makes you feel like you’re in a little hollow, with trees all around, according to Ridl. The 3-5 p.m. session will be suitable for all ages, while the 7-9 p.m. performances will be a little “spookier.”
A non-walking performance will be offered at 5:30 p.m.
The program is funded by Layton City RAMP and the Hemingway Foundation.
For more information, visit http://davisarts.org or call 801-546-8575.