Archive for the 'Shadow of the Raven' Category

Shenandoah Valley of Virginia – Wayside Theatre opens `The Shadow of the Raven: The Stories of Edgar Allen Poe`

raven_for_web.gifShenandoah Valley of Virginia – Wayside Theatre opens `The Shadow of the Raven: The Stories of Edgar Allen Poe`

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Shadow of the Raven: Edgar Allan Poe, Larry Dahlke, and a Theremin

Wayside Theatre and its audiences are blessed with some wonderfully talented, and often multi-talented actors and actresses who ply their trade on our stages. Larry Dahlke is one of those multi-talented marvels. As an actor he is a gifted chameleon, and as a musician he can make music out of just about anything. In our World Premiere production of Steve Przybylski’s Shadow of the Raven: Stories of Edgar Allan Poe, Larry gets to show off many of this talents, including making music with a theremin. If you don’t know much about a theremin, you are not alone. But to give you an introduction to this unique instrument and a bit of its history, Larry offers this quick little video.

Working With and Against the Flow

It has been an amazing and somewhat terrifying week at Wayside Theatre this week. Tonight (in just an hour and a half) we open our Emerging Artists program, George Washington: Young Man, Young Country at the Old Town Courthouse. We’ve also been rehearsing a world premiere of Steve Przybylski’s Shadow of the Raven: Stories of Edgar Allan Poe, which will open next weekend and tomorrow is our first rehearsal on stage for that piece.

Needless to say, we’re stretched a bit thin and also a bit frazzled, but I’m continually impressed and awed by the work our artists and administrators do with so little, and when they are under the gun.

Our Education Director, Sarah Blackwell, has done a wonderful job with George Washington. The play is written and performed by high schoolers, who at the dress rehearsal I saw on Wednesday, were doing some awesome work. I can’t wait to see the opening night performance. Sarah has guided these children brilliantly and I’m sure the run of the play (through October 14) will be another great learning experience for the cast, as well as a treat for the audiences. Would that we had our expansion completed so we could do more of this on a regular basis.

And speaking of October 14, we are all only slightly nervous about the debut of Shadow. You never know if a new play will work, and quite honestly, the theatre needs a “hit” right now. You can feel that the show has the potential to be Continue reading ‘Working With and Against the Flow’

Diary of the Raven: Stray Feathers

He is, indeed, still stalking me. Found today on the blog of Neil Gaiman, of whose gift for language and for world building I would feel grateful to posess even a tenth, was this essay Neil wrote for a collected edition of Poe. You can read the entire essay here, but I’ll share this passage, which gives me a far better rationale for why Poe’s stories belong on stage than I’ve yet come up with:

But there are secrets to appreciating Poe, and I shall let you in on one of the most important ones: read him aloud.

Read the poems aloud. Read the stories aloud. Feel the way the words work in your mouth, the way the syllables bounce and roll and drive and repeat, or almost repeat. Poe’s poems would be beautiful if you spoke no English (indeed, a poem like “Ulalume” remains opaque even if you do understand English — it implies a host of meanings, but does not provide any solutions). Lines which, when read on paper, seem overwrought or needlessly repetitive or even mawkish, when spoken aloud reshape and reconfigure.

I’ve turned thirty years old while working on this piece (literally during the first read-through), and it really is permeating every facet of my life. (The other day, I named my newest World of Warcraft character Ligeia.) It’s fascinating to discover, as the process goes on, just how deeply he’s buried in the modern American consciousness. Part challenge, part burden, part mind trip, all intimidating. Continue reading ‘Diary of the Raven: Stray Feathers’

Diary of the Raven: Everything Counts (In Large Amounts)

Polishing a script is like a Big 10 football game. A lot of grinding, and not a whole lot of movement. (Not a perfect analogy, perhaps, but it’s been months since I’ve had college football to be excited about, so I hope you’ll let that one pass.) It is, however, tiny detail after tiny detail, with each one rippling through the piece, necessitating more and more changes. And then, just maybe, one rolls back around and makes you rewrite the piece that started the thing in the first place.

An example – one of the characters is younger, well-educated, and a little bit out of place in our setting. (To be truthful, they’re all a bit out of place, but that’s another story.) At first, it doesn’t matter – she’s there because she needs to be, and she’s well-educated because she needs to be. It was good enough to forward the storyline, and it worked. But she wasn’t at all satisfied with that. (Characters have Continue reading ‘Diary of the Raven: Everything Counts (In Large Amounts)’

Diary of the Raven: Introduction

Edgar Allan Poe is stalking me.

On a display in Borders earlier this week, I found a sizable display of “The Poe Shadow” by Matthew Pearl, in which a young lawyer tries to salvage the reputation of the deceased Poe.

Tucked in the New Releases section at Blockbuster, a large black bird stared malevolently from a movie called “The Raven”, in which a modern day singer named Lenore is visited by Poe’s ghost and stalked by a killer “from beyond the grave”.

I avoided both of them. Not because I’m afraid they’re not quality (OK, I’m pretty sure that the Raven movie isn’t, but we’ll let that pass), but because I’m trying Continue reading ‘Diary of the Raven: Introduction’


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