Granados: A giant bunny? Wake Forest theater knows how to scare the heck out of me

CorrespondentSeptember 27, 2013 

Aaron Dunlap, left, and Heather Dahlberg appear in a production of “Harvey” by the Forest Moon Theater in Wake Forest.


  • If you go

    Forest Moon Theater will present “Harvey” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4, 5, 11 and 12, and at 3 p.m. Oct. 6. All shows are at the Franklin Academy High School theater, 648 Flaherty Ave., Wake Forest. Tickets, which can be purchased online or at the door, range from $11 to $15. For details, go to

When I told you about the creation of Forest Moon Theater in Wake Forest, I had no idea what was going to happen next.

And I have to tell you, it horrifies me.

The theater’s next production is on the books. It opens Oct. 4 and runs for two weeks. If you want to be scared, you should check it out.

What’s this production I’ve been teasing for the last two paragraphs? Why haven’t I told you the name?

You may not realize that it’s frightening, but after I tell you about it, you’ll see my point of view.

The next production is “Harvey.” Perhaps you remember the story from the movie starring Jimmy Stewart. If you don’t, here’s the premise: It’s about a guy who’s being followed around by a giant, invisible bunny.

It’s family-friendly fare, or at least that’s what everybody wants you to think. But I tell you, “Be afraid.”

Ask yourself, how would you feel if you met a giant, invisible bunny on the street? What if you bumped into a 6-foot furry thing you couldn’t see? Would you be delighted?

No. Terrified.

And Bob Baird, co-founder of the theater, didn’t help when I told him my view. He explained that in his research, he discovered that the giant bunny in the story is actually a thing called a “pooka.”

“A pooka is a hobgoblin,” he said. “It can take the form of different animals – most typically a goat or sheep, or in this case, a giant rabbit.”

What? That’s the scariest sentence I’ve written all year.

Upon further research, I discovered that this “hobgoblin” is mischievous but benign, so that’s better. But still!

OK, I’m mostly joking. True, I do think that a movie about a giant invisible bunny is ripe for horror, but in the case of “Harvey,” the story really is family-friendly and pleasant.

I asked Baird for his take on the plot.

“It’s actually a pretty simple story, I think, as you boil it down,” he said. “It’s about where do you draw the line between what’s real and what’s imaginary.”

You see, the main character in the production has this giant invisible friend, and he’s an adult. So people think he’s kind of crazy. But as you watch the production, you will question that categorization as you come to believe in a bunny which is nowhere to be seen.

“The audience comes to believe in Harvey before the other characters in the play do,” Baird said.

“Harvey” is another peg in the Forest Moon Theater’s belt. As a new theater, it’s trying to define itself, and with this performance and some to come, it’s carving out a shape for its future.

“We’re trying to do a variety of things to let people see what our range plans to be as we go along,” Baird said.

In March, the theater will produce a play aimed at a younger audience. Next fall, it will do a play that tackles the plight of the elderly going through dementia. And later in the year, Baird and company will add a Christmas production.

It looks like Forest Moon Theater means to be a lot of things to a lot of people, and that’s a big ambition in little Wake Forest. I for one am all for it.

But I won’t be going to see “Harvey.” It’s silly, I know – I’m just petrified of giant, invisible bunnies.

But you shouldn’t be.

Alex Granados writes about people, places and traditions in North Raleigh and beyond. Contact him at

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