CHS Play Review: An Evening with Edgar Allen Poe

On November 1 and 3, Central High School Theatre program performed An Evening with Edgar Allen Poe. As with any high school production, a few moments fell flat, but on the whole, the students produced an entertaining evening of fear, delight, and mystery.

The plays directors Jacob Sousley, junior; Josie Wells, sophomore; and Hunter Kay, senior; pose for a picture.

The play begins with an excerpt of ¨The Raven,¨ a poem well-known to many audience members. Next, in the “Cask of Amontillado,” a man gets revenge on a nobleman by getting him drunk and imprisoning him behind a wall. Actors Jacob Sousley, junior, and Hunter Kay, senior, give strong performances. Sousley’s portrayal of an increasingly intoxicated nobleman especially elicited laughter from the crowd, which gradually turned into fear as he was trapped behind the wall.

The third featured Poe story was “The Purloined Letter,” a detective mystery to find a compromising letter. At the end, the detective finds out one of her colleagues had it the whole time. Overall, Annie Smith, sophomore, stole the spotlight in this one.

The final story of Act 1 was”The Fall of the House of Usher.” The man of the house, Roderick, is afflicted by a mysterious disease that essentially renders his sister a living corpse. His incestous twin, Madeline, appears to die from the disease and Roderick quickly spirals into madness. Overall, while the acting and technical effects were good, the plot was still sometimes hard to follow for those not already familiar with the story.

Act 2 opened with “The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether.”An Asylum with “soothing science” claiming to rehabilitate mentally insane, but as the visitor sits at a dinner table, it becomes clear that the inmates are running the asylum. This scene ends on a strong note with lunatics being released and running off the stage and out of the theater.

In “The Oblong Box” it is eventually revealed that a dead woman has been kept in a chest on a ship by her husband. When the ship sinks, her husband refuses to leave the chest behind and thus they both sink with the ship.

A theme of ships, seas, and coastlines continued with “Annabel Lee”- another poem I personally found hard to follow, was something about a village and a dead girl named Annabelle Lee.

Lastly is “The Tell-Tale Heart,” my personal favorite, which tells the story of a mentally ill woman, played by senior Lelia Dillon, and her recollection of murdering her elderly housemate due to her “evil eye.¨ She ends up confessing when she believes she hears the heart beating under floorboards when detectives arrive. Lelia Dillon’s performance was my and many others’ highlight of the entire play, chilling and Kathy Bates-esque.

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The cast thanks Ms. Toll after the play.

The lighting and sound were amazing and played an instrumental role in the story. Perhaps what was most impressive was the extent to which the production was student-led from the directing to the lighting, and even the sound. Central’s got talent.


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