Edgar Allen Poe comes alive at Chief Theater just in time for Halloween | SteamboatToday.com

Edgar Allen Poe comes alive at Chief Theater just in time for Halloween

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Lurking just beyond the dismal veil of darkness, the harrowing depths of the human imagination await.

Grim and zealous, the Chief Players act out haunting tales from one of America's greatest authors, Edgar Allan Poe.

Through love, loss, pain, sorrow, regret and degradation, his characters slowly unravel.

"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before,” Poe wrote in his 1845 poem, "The Raven."

Poe’s works will take center stage during "An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe," at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Chief Theater.

"Life is dark, life has corners and life has some shady spots," said Calder Young, a Chief Players actor who reads Poe’s famous poem, "The Tell-Tale Heart.” "Everyone has heard the princess, happy-ending stories, but life's not like that. This play is real. It's scary because it's real, and it's real because it's scary. It's finding the reality in something dark."

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The dramatic readings include eight of Poe's poems and six abridged tales of mystery and suspense including "The Raven," "The Masque of the Red Death" and "The Pit and the Pendulum."

Adding another layer to Poe’s prose, visual and sound effects will enhance the performances, which were originally produced by Hunger Artists Ensemble Theatre in 2004 at the Byers-Evans House in Denver and directed by Stacy Nelms.

The original show had a five-week, sold-out run for 10 years and was brought to the Chief by Arty Smith, director of the local production who worked with Dell Domnik, one of the writers who donated the play adaptation to the Chief Players

"The show we're doing is significantly different," Smith said. "Although it's the same script, we've added another layer that is out of this world."

From mystery in "Dreamland" to the haunted, eloquent prose of "Annabel Lee," the tales explore stories of the struggle against the horrors of ghastly torture of the mind in "The Pit and the Pendulum" or the slow demise of a man through alcoholism in "The Black Cat."

Even today, Poe's work resonates, Smith said.

"There's something in each story that people can relate to if you've ever gone through heartbreak, loss and sorrow," Smith said.

"He was the grandfather of horror on some level," Young added. "It's a different medium outside the genre of what we're used to. It's truly the bare bones, the essence of Halloween."

"An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe" is not recommended for small children. Tickets are $15 and are available at Chieftheater.com or All That, 601 Lincoln Ave.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@steamboattoday.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.




If you go:

What: The Chief Players present “An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe”

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20 and Saturday, Oct. 21

Where: Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave.

Tickets: $15 available online at chieftheater.com or All That.


What you didn’t know about Poe…

by Arty Smith 

  • Born Jan. 19, 1809, in Boston
  • Both of his parents were travelling actors
  • Named after the manager of his parents’ theater troupe
  • Orphaned at an early age and taken in by the Allans of Richmond, Virginia
  • Married his 13-year-old cousin Virginia in 1836
  • Was a severe alcoholic
  • Very successfully published “The Raven” in 1845 for a fee of just $9
  • Was a literary critic who particularly hated Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poetry
  • Widely regarded as creating the detective genre with “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” in 1841.
  • Greatly influenced the creation of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Died Oct. 7, 1849, under mysterious and unknown circumstances
  • Wrote several essays on the art of writing, including “The Poetic Principle”