By Natasha Muhametzyanova, Contributing Writer
The stage plunged into darkness, and even when the lights were back on, the grim feeling remained. Edgar Allan Poe truly was master of the macabre.
The Life of Poe became the main story arc that united three of his works: William Wilson, The Telltale Heart and The Pit and The Pendulum. Adapted by playwright John Hardy, the production combined the classic stories with an experimental staging.
Fear and torment were inseparable for the characters in the play, but who were they? Seven people on the stage took on the roles of more than 20 characters. From the protagonists to the mysterious voices, all of the roles were shifting from one actor to the other.
Multiple roles, taken on by the actors, added action to the story and kept the audience engaged. As principal turned into a student and policeman into a judge, the actors presented their own takes on each character. Still, the presentation was clear, and no foreknowledge of Poe’s work was necessary to follow the action.
The stage looked ominous setting the mood for the upcoming Halloween celebrations. The atmosphere was created largely by the tech crew. Actions depended heavily on the stage effects. Sound (Brady Dunn) and lighting (Alex Franke) were timely and creative.
The inner voices tortured Poe (Zac Morris) from the beginning. “I am Edgar Allan Poe,” he screamed, and the voices echoed him. The scene served as a nice transition to the story of William Wilson (Alex Gordon) being tormented by his own self. The involvement of characters and the development of the story were captivating and memorable.
Unfortunately, the following two stories could not compete with William Wilson as they lacked action and did not use the stage to its fullest.
Mysterious and puzzling, this production ended with a strong, emotional scene and left us to question if Poe could ever be free from his torment.
Photos by Ingrid Young