Ich, KürbisGeist

Old-Time Agricultural Revenge Play, for Hallowe'en.
Inspired by a field of broken seed pumpkins near the airport in Graz, Austria, as viewed from a passing car. Told in a convergence of made-up archaic dialects, as collected from several imaginary points in medieval European history.

photo by Paula Court. Pictured: Molly Hickok, Tymberly Canale, Kourtney Rutherford
photo by Paula Court. Pictured: Molly Hickok
photo by Paula Court. Pictured: Paul Lazar

Read Sample

What did it end up that der filcher wir thogh

Well ond ofter thot gurl waent tå the sckol ut filcher durdn corme ontul der nixt yaar Bot der vaerhy nixt yaar ut cormt
Ut cormt agaan rooght abot der sorme tyme thot vaerhy nixt yaar
Rooght abot der sorme tyme
Cattles ta'en, der

Durdn yo e'er sehe ut
WELL . . .

Sorme-one sø ut
Ik tenk Hrotud sø ut
She hærd scraams bot then agaan
ut fois o wundy naght
Yea thot fois sorme kin af staerm thot tyme Yo knø thot oluve treeh
Der vaerhy dicke one
Der vaerhy olde one
By der condy plahce nø


Bot then therh fir nae condy plece
Ot thot tyme wi dudn’t yet hove o plece far condy

So it firn’t the gurl

Weh dudn’t hove condy
Weh dudn’t neehd ut
Weh hod
Burch bork

Dudn’t Hrotud thote ut wir o cat un heat thot tyme thogh

Well she wir haepen agin haepe thot ut
Wir jost
Der yøling af o cat
Haepen sorme-one mey hove jost hort o cat –
(Weh wold då thot bock then sorme af os
Der ones who hud tyme tå beh onhuppy
Der ones who dudn’t då enogh wark
Weh wold hort cats uf weh cold cotch them uf weh wir onhuppy
Uf weh dudn’t hove enogh wark
Cats orn’t easy tå cotch
They’re nat olweys easy tå hort
Uf yo monoge tå cotch one
If yo daen’t hove enogh wark
Ond yo’re onhuppy
Sormetimes yo wold hort ut) –

Ut waern’t the season far yøling cats ot af mating
There waere oll kund af scraames

Oll kund af scraams, weh haerd

They cold gatten corried an thot wund thogh, weh saad
Weh told Hrotud thot scraams can gat corried an der wund
Ø witch’s scraams
Ø terrible cripple’s flute song
Ond ever-one lohghed
Behcose weh hodn’t gaent witches by thot tyme
Yo cold beh o witch bot weh’d let yo beh
Nøodeys oll scraams gortten scribed tå witches
Ond der maere yo wark der maere yo feel lykke horten cats
Sormetimes ut seems lykke der wrild durn’t morkent senser

Orndt, this one gurl gornt så bad cornfusst on o tyme
She shorvt o whrole kürbis opside haer own self
Ond waiterd abote o month
When ot whuch tyme ut besunkt ond she besought ut best så tå beshove ut op e'en furtht Weh oll saw haer walkn waddhly bot she warn't tellern why
Haer lips screwd op shutz like th'eyeholes orf o neubearn hündpup
Weh kepp quiet mostpart
Tho one dey she waer sleehpen ond haer soster peehpt umbler der blanket
Sehen there
der shoots ond spro-houts
Cro-wawlen døn t'aer onkles ond wrappern rond!
Bot thot one dorn't tollt no one nother
Behen soster
Not op til lorter when der bearth tyme supporsd cormt
Soster keppt ut sehcret op til der tyme cormt for o bearthern
Ond lo she waer gone un der mornen

Ooldstres repeatun demonstration to illustrrate der pint.

Orheh orheh! Eh gut one!
Eh tenk af thot tyme ot Nilschen fund der logheaded ppl ot der missing docken
Him cormpt runnen ond shoorten op form der lorke weh'd morde -
Shoorten und sho-houten
Ond said theirn heads waer treeh stumps cut clean thro with o push-pull saw
Loorkent roond goent dearn chores ond oll
No eyes or orjes
Ond weh busted oport oor bellies af lorgphen
Rollen lorgphend hup hup hirndre hup hup
To sehen Nilschen's face så worried lyke a bad butthole squirmen op ond tightnen så
His fright waer så great ond hoo waent sorh stupid

Och! Ond what oboot Bilje peckun ond mussun rond der piles af garbage ond ot der dungheap
Emptyen, refellent haer bins
Ogaan, ogaan, repeatun repeatun
Bot bringun nothen bock, ond forgerntern whot tå leaven drer behind
Emptyen, befellent, refellend those af haer bins
Long past til ut gorten durk ond quiet
Heardt os haer feehts crispent ond trudgend thro der piles ond heaps
Helpensless ond os tryen nort tå lorgphen
On accoont af 'aer shøen så serious ond de-termeanter
Movenpick rond der piles oot there, ne'er restern
Oh hoh! Ph hoh! Hoh!
Sorme one torke ut upon them self
tå brought haer pots ond pans oot t'aer
Wuth fishes in, thinken t'murght schnap haer op t'cokken oot then deadhly roonds as she waer 'comen half storved but.
Ho-hee hoh! Sh'anded those fushes rurght tå der piles ond heaps
With hardhly loorken ot em
Knifes faer bones ond oll
When der reapen hehrvest tyme cormt tå å much wark morde os forget haer
Bot at der onset af winter thot yaar she waer fond oll bones ond fush bones
Blendern oll in wuth der piles ond 'eaps oot there
Sonk onder haer clothes
Haer kin cryen cose they hod forgot haer ot der hehrvest in their business fellen birken

Nae nae nae!
Mumber one at Leeds Pt. – sh'ad tolve chyrldrn, nad bot mysery
''F'I've onorthre, let ut beh der DEVUL!' sheh shorted ond sho-houted,
to ever'thung oon no-one, noone livin close t'em
– oot mong der snake pines dem wir,
der littl'uns kucked oot o church ond hangeren boot 'aer neck ond goowns –
deart poore dem wir
Ond sore eno!
Next one cormt ot planternen tyme ond tornt haerse-he-ad ond bat-wungerted
Forkerunt tongue ond clőven foothoof, spynal brine re-echun oot to tailfleisch and squamie-scallt hyde
Cre-ature scornt ond squander'd mothren's mulk ond shredded haer teehts poore ooman
Tore 'em limber frm limb th'whole clan,
ate dem honds ond feeht brors ond sostrs
ond flew off unto dem snaker-pines der,
twix dem snaken branchen,
grew terrble ond bred its ohwn.

Avoid dem piney barrens!
Watchun faer signages nailed t'birken –
marks dem Leeds Pt!

Cast Requirements

Flexible from 3 women 2 men
6 men
15 women
1 chorus
audience participation

Set Description

Best performed in woods bordering a farm.
Takes place in a patch of woods where the boundaries of feudal and religious systems, time periods, social order, biologies, and other classifications can manage total break-down in the face of paranatural crisis.


53rd State Press
Ich, KürbisGeist and The Secret Death of Puppets
by Sibyl Kempson
illustrated by Amanda Villalobos

In a special volume illustrated and designed by Amanda Villalobos come two of Sibyl Kempson's forays into the damp, weird soil of ghosts, curses, and the roots and cousins of American language. ICH, KÜRBISGEIST, an agricultural vengeance play for Hallowe'en, is written in a variant of Amer-English so oolde and wheeurd that you need to train your tongue and ear to read it. The three paranormal playlets of THE SECRET DEATH OF PUPPETS are composed in "Fraunch", English, and some kind of Nordic-Latin homonculus language of the undead. You'll want to read this to your children.



"Much like the words spoken by Shakespeare’s wily fools, the messages are scrambled. Yet the world of “Ich, Kürbisgeist” is whole, and surprisingly powerful. Sometimes the gut understands better than the brain."
- Claudia La Rocco for the NY Times

See More


"Actors become auratic nodes of presence liberated from the reductive burden of semiotic transmission ... There is the play itself and then, through the audience’s interpretive failure, another play, emerging in an abstract and seductive perceptual moment. Is this the 'real' of theater?"
- Max Cosmo for Culturebot

Annie-b Parson and Sibyl Kempson in conversation with Aaron Mattocks of Critical Correspondence

Minnesota Daily on Red Eye Theater Production

Production and Development History

Originally developed at Dixon Place, NYC, 2006. Directed by Jessica Brater, with the Bats Theater Company of the Flea Theater.
Big Dance Theater production at the Chocolate Factory, Long Island City, NYC, 2012.
Re-mount of Big Dance Theater production at New York Live Arts, NYC, 2013.
Red Eye Theater production, Minneapolis, MN, 2013.