“True! –nervous –very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses –not destroyed –not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily –how calmly I can tell you the whole story.” –Excerpt from The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe (1843)
Bringing to mind images of murderers and madness, Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most famous of scary storytellers. So what better way to celebrate Halloween than to spend An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe with the Byers-Evans Theatre Company? Directed by Dell Domnik, An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe features 14 of the author’s most iconic poems and short stories adapted for the stage.
Perhaps more chilling than the rendition of the tales themselves is the location of the event. Built in 1883 for William N. Byers (who printed Denver’s first newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News,) the main floor of the historic Byers-Evans House Museum contains eerie portraits of the family as well as (what appear to be) Victorian furnishings. While the house itself may not be “haunted” per-se, the atmosphere of the production definitely gives off a creepy vibe, particularly at night.
Set in the library of the gigantic house, An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe breathes new life into some of Poe’s most famous works including The Raven, The Masque of the Red Death, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Black Cat (among others.) With such an intimate setting, it is nearly impossible not to become entranced by the actors as they make frequent eye contact with the audience throughout the show. Dressed in black, some tales are told by a single actor, others are told by a few and still more by the entire ensemble.
Whether it be through imagery of torture chambers or demonic creatures, An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe is a Halloween treat that shouldn’t be missed. The show runs through Nov. 10. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 6:00 p.m. There will also be a special Halloween performance on Wednesday Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16 with proceeds benefitting museum programs, operations and education. To purchase tickets and for more information call 303-620-4933 or visit www.byersevanshousemuseum.org.
Jessica Kleinman is an art and culture intern/writer for 303 Magazine. She is currently studying journalism at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow her posts on Twitter.