Nothing summons the spooky spirits of October like a story by Edgar Allan Poe. The Frazier History Museum knows this, so they’re resurrecting the popular “An Evening with Poe,” which consists of theatrical adaptations of six of the writer’s most famous works as well as musical interludes by the Tamerlane Trio.
Tony Dingman, who created the concept for the museum and is part of this year’s production, tells Insider the experience is like a Victorian parlour evening, where you could expect to hear a poem, a classical piece of music or a modern song at any given point.
The actors will read and interpret six of Poe’s works, including “The Raven,” “Spirits of the Dead,” “Morella,” “William Wilson,” “Bells” and “The Pit and the Pendulum.” And the music performed by the Tamerlane Trio will be pieces Poe may have heard in his day.
“The music serves as a kind of palate cleanser between stories and poems, as we want each of Poe’s works to stand alone,” explains Dingman.
He believes Poe, who some consider the inventor of the detective fiction genre, is perfect for this time of year due to his heavily macabre and melancholy plots.
“Poe’s stories delve into the inner turmoil of his characters, and he doesn’t shy away from the dark thoughts people may have,” says Dingman. “At this time of year, Halloween is on our minds, but also it is a time of change in the natural world. The trees are becoming bare and the grass is yellowing. The days are shorter and crisper. Poe makes reference to October in a number of his pieces. It is the perfect backdrop for things macabre or frightening.”
Dingman became fascinated with the Romantic-era writer after reading “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and says that piece “always had a corner of my memory all to itself.”
“An Evening with Poe” runs two hours with one intermission and takes place Oct. 22-26, Oct. 29-30 and Nov. 1-4 at the Frazier History Museum, 829 W. Main St. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m., and doors open at 6:30. Admission is $18 ($15 for members) and includes gallery access before the show. A cash bar is available.