Nineteenth-century writer Edgar Allan Poe was a troubled genius, shrouded in mystery and dark fascination, but his works have proven to endure: “The Raven” conjures a shiver of fear in all familiar with the creepy poem, and anyone who has read “The Telltale Heart” knows the difficulty of shaking the terrifying events it recounts. Though Poe died a poverty-stricken man, haunted by his own personal demons, his literary talent is widely recognized today.
The Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival is bringing this madman to life in an original production of Edgar: The Life of Edgar Allen Poe, a play conceived by Shakespeare Festival founder and director Kermit Christman. The show premiered in 1994 and has since toured South Florida.
Edgar trails the life of Poe, played by Seth Trucks, as he encounters the “Man” (Darryl Willis), who represents the various male figures that influenced Poe—whether positively or negatively—and the “Woman” (Natasha Sherritt), who symbolizes the many women that deeply affected Poe’s personal life and, subsequently, his writing. Poe’s own private disturbances take the form of the ghost of “Lenore” (Kelly Ainsworth), whom Poe idealized as the embodiment of perfection.
“The action of the play takes place in the mind of the actor playing Poe,” says Christman. “Hence, the setting itself becomes a dreamscape.”
- EDGAR runs February 12-14 at the Eissey Campus Theatre in Palm Beach Gardens. Tickets are $20 for adults; free for students with ID and for children. For tickets and more information, call the box office at 561-207-5900, or visit www.pbshakespeare.org.