'Poe' show held over for another week
Edgar Allan Poe's brilliant, troubled work is not what comes to mind for St. Patrick's Day, but the Feichter Studio at HART took advantage of the full moon last weekend and brought some of his ominous stories to a mesmerized audience.
HART veteran Tom Dewees delivered a bravura performance of Poe's "The Black Cat." The murder story, written in 1843 and first published in a newspaper, is the gothic tale of a man who in a drunken rage kills his wife, then stuffs her body inside a brick wall. But first he gouges out the eye of his beloved black cat.
The murderer as narrator spins the sordid story from a jail cell the day before he is to be put to death. A young man looking to be about 11 years old, sat close to the stage in the intimate venue and took in Dewees's performance with wide eyes.
"Wow," the youngster said at intermission. "He's good!"
Part Three of the trilogy was director San Greenalch's edgy adaptation of W.W.Jacobs' short story "The Monkey's Paw." The familiar 'three wishes' plot uses a mummified monkey's paw as a talisman for the White family's granting of wishes which bring forth dire consequences. San Greenalch is splendid as the mother, ably assisted by ensemble players Bob Greenalch, James Bradley, Tom Dewees and John Winfield.
"The Monkey's Paw" was written in 1902 for a British audience. In the local production, only Dewees stayed in character with a spot-on British accent, which seemed a bit out of place since other cast members did not tackle the accent. James Bradley made a valiant stab at Poe's dark and difficult chestnut, "The Raven."
Those who memorized it in high school for extra credit remember how hard it was to learn the lengthy poem about Lenore. Edgar Allan Poe's writings are considered by many to be among the best in American literature. HART's excellent performances reminded folks that the scary stories deserve a re-read, along with such Poe favorites as "The Bells" and "Ulalume" and the horror tales "The Pit and the Pendulum" and "The Tell-Tale Heart."
Community theater veteran John Winfield, as the Grim Reaper, announces the program with enthusiasm, cautioning the audience to use its imagination. "You do remember that you have one, don't you?" he asks. Put yours to work this weekend and enjoy some good literature. And untangle your life's teenagers from their technology and bring them with you.