As part of the Fullerton Shadows Festival (FullertonShadows.org) Stages Theater presents a selection of Poe stories adapted as plays by Sean Engard. The ensemble cast (I think I counted 14 people on stage at one point) portray 5 (6 on Sundays) stories from the classic writer in a new light. Costumes are minimal but makeup is not. The old man in “The Tale-Tell Heart” actually has a pale blue, vulture-like eye.
Two of the re-workings are inventive. The modernization of “The Cask of Amontilliado” brings it into the modern era and youth culture in an exciting way. Even the main characters gender seems more believable when one considers cat-like behavior contained in the play. But perhaps those roles were switched in Poe’s time.
“The Raven” is a one man show that has also been converted into a new context so that the viewer can see the constants of love and loss. But probably the most engaging piece is “The Facts in the Case of M Valdemar”. Special effects and quick transitions keep the pace moving forward and the heart beating a little faster.
I saw the show on Sunday so I also got to see and entertaining introduction through the story of “Hop Frog”. This short play has the largest cast and it is rollicking and fun. Be prepared to be scared and entertained in that dark Poe fashion.
Oddly, when I went to the Dead Kennedys show later this same day the friend of my friend had a large Edgar Allen Poe tattoo by the artist Carlos Rojas on his calf. Just a coincidence?
Stages Theater, 400 E Commonwealth, 714.525.4484