You—among many—may have chanced upon Poe’s stories and post-mortem biographies, but few take the time to truly delve into his life and loss—an existence haunted by his own creations. This February, the Covenant College Theatre Department invites you to slip into Poe’s imagination as he mulls over his past misadventures and those of his characters on the eve of his death.
Reality intermingles with delirium, humor with dread in this stark vision of Poe’s best-loved works—and the real-life events that shaped them. Characters from “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Black Cat,” The Raven,” “Annabel Lee,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Premature Burial,” and “The Cask of Amontillado” make appearances throughout and beckon Poe, played by Junior Sam Pinheiro, to reexamine an existence eclipsed by obsession and internal conflict. The production will be directed by Senior Ana Gresham and Freshman Cara Smole.
Gresham says that she was drawn to “Midnight Dreary” because it gives the audience a chance to watch Poe interact with and relate to his own characters as the narrative flits between creation and creator. “Nowadays, Poe is this mythical figure of darkness and dreariness, but he himself was a human being who wrestled with very tangible struggles like alcoholism, memories of a painful childhood, and manic-depression,” she says—ghosts that would follow Poe until the last days of his life.
“When Poe was found near his death, no one knew who he was,” says Smole. “He was walking drunk in the streets and had passed out, so he was a John Doe for a long time.” ”Midnight Dreary” dramatizes these final hours as Poe is plagued by both remembrance and hallucination and his identity blurs with those of his characters. McElvain’s revisitation of Poe’s work beckons modern audiences to discover just how much Poe’s writings reflected the his personal demons.
“It deals with addiction and what consumes you, what makes you tick,” adds Smole. “Since every single character in this show has an obsession that either drives them to kill or be killed, I think it’s an interesting thing to think on how easy it is to be consumed with what is right here and right now, that we lose sight of the big picture.”
“Poe’s Midnight Dreary” will run February 15, 16, and 22 at 8:00 pm and February 23 at 2:30 pm in Sanderson Hall Auditorium at Covenant College, 14049 Scenic Highway, Lookout Mountain, Georgia. Tickets are $10 for adults, and $7 for seniors, military, students, and Covenant staff. To inquire about group rates or to reserve tickets, please contact the box office at email@example.com or 706-419-1051. Tickets may also be purchased online at covenant.edu/theatre or at the door as long as seats remain available.