Volume 94, Issue 27

Wednesday, October 18, 2000


Dr. T keeps cast in check

Winona gets Lost


Poe show sees darker sides

Poe show sees darker sides

I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe
Starring: Christopher Morris
Directed By: Daryl Cloran

By Ben Freedman
Gazette Writer

I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe is a one man show that explores the power of language, considers the modern insulation from passion and ultimately questions the purity of sanity.

The play concerns Joseph, a young man with a dissociative disorder who lives at a psychiatric hospital and is convinced he is the reincarnation of 19th century poet and author, Edgar Allan Poe. This character idea is used as a vehicle for transcending a number of themes.

The audience immediately understands why this man is so different. Joseph simply cannot comprehend why doctors keep trying to define his life as a series of events. From his perspective, life is a single, evolving metaphor. He believes that we are all just words inside each other's heads and until people realize this, they will continue to be trapped in a superficial.

Joseph tries to teach the doctor to feel the power of emotion through Poe's famous letter to his lover, Annie Richmond. However, the doctor remains unmoved. This emotionally stimulating performance culminates when the viewer is confronted with the question about whether it is the "psychologically ill" who encapsulate what it means to be truly human.

One could argue it is this self-examination director Daryl Cloran sought. The personal reflection provoked by the somewhat artificial and unnatural script is successful at providing just enough fodder for moments of intellectual bliss. Unfortunately, these moments were not consistent throughout the play.

There were points in the drawn out readings of Poe's work that were melodramatic. The repeated discussion of the main character's same problems, which were originally fascinating, became psychologically numbing. Cloran would be well advised to shorten the script and concentrate on the the play's most potent parts.

Nevertheless, the acting is brilliant throughout. Christopher Morris shines as he seamlessly changes characters. The tone of the theatre was organic; moments after a riveting performance of Poe's "A Telltale Heart," the room was filled with laughter. The poetic additions are effortlessly combined and thematically enhance the play.

All said, the sensitive way in which Poe's perspective was adopted to present a number of rich ideas, proves both moving and touching. Unfortunately, these ideas remained under-investigated.

Still, the play retains its simplistic appeal and entertainment value, making it worth the price of admission.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000