I have never been familiar with the Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, except for The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart. We read them in fifth grade, but I never thought anything of them. But I did this week when I experienced Edgar Allen Poe’s magnificent tales at the Center for Puppetry Arts.
To me, this piece was a prime example of experimental theatre. It altered the sense of traditional conventions of space, movement, mood, tension, and symbolism. I’m no theatre critic, but I do know a good play when I see one — and The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe was just that.
There are two things that I would like to talk about concerning the piece.
First, the creative way the actors brought Edgar and his beautiful tales to life. By simply placing their hands into the sleeves of his jacket and using a rod to maneuver his head, Edgar began to seemingly prance around the stage in his own dark delight. One story in particular, Berenice, was my favorite. Not because it was just a creepy horror story about teeth, but because of the way it was done. I don’t want to give the story away, but just know that the ending was portrayed very well on the stage. For every story the visual portrayal was stunning, really. Perhaps a very different element that was highly noticeable was the use of multimedia. You would see the moon transform from a clock to an eyeball in a matter of minutes. It went so well with the stories.
Another element I enjoyed was the physical set itself. It set the tone for the piece as soon as guests walked in. I walked in and immediately felt like it was midnight. You could hear the crickets. You could see the cobwebs. It was all so spooky. The use of certain stage elements during stories fascinated me as well. How a windowsill could turn into a rocking ship in the ocean? I will never know without a couple sips of wine really. But it worked in the show.
So all in all, I give a big BRAVO to the cast and crew of Tales of Edgar Allan Poe at the Center for Puppetry Arts. Job well done! I had to watch cartoons to get me out of that dark place once I got home, but it was so worth it.
There are still performances left until March 3rd. Check out www.puppet.org for showtimes and ticket information.
I’m going to go stare at the floorboards a little bit more.