After a year’s absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wabash College Theater Department is back on stage and will present “Twisted Tales of Poe,” a radio drama based on the stories and poems of Edgar Alan Poe.
Performances are scheduled for March 4 and March 6 at 8 p.m., March 5 at 11:59 p.m. and March 7 at 2 p.m.
“Twisted Tales of Poe” is a multi-media production that will be performed in person, broadcast live from Ball Theater on 91.3 WNDY in Crawfordsville, and live-streamed on www.wabash.edu/live.
The in-person performance on campus will be closed to the public and limited to students, faculty, and staff who have a Wabash login. Free tickets can be reserved online at the Fine Arts Box Office. The limit is one ticket per login, and those attending must have a GO on the COVID Pass App and follow COVID-19 protocols such as mask wearing and physical distancing.
Directed by Associate Professor of Theater Jim Cherry, “Twisted Tales of Poe” is a dramatization of some of Poe's most well-known and frightening stories, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Raven,” and “Hop-Frog.” It’s written by Philip Grecian, with additional material by John K. Reshetar.
“We’ve designed this with the idea of bringing everyone together to enjoy live theater in a time where we can’t safely have everyone come to campus as we ordinarily would,” Cherry said. “The experiences are different, but the audience won’t be missing out if they tune in on the radio or the livestream. They will still get to experience the acting and sounds that make a unique show.
“Something that you’re watching may hit differently than the way you listen to it,” Cherry said, “and that can be really fascinating.”
Born in Boston in 1809, Poe is one of America’s most famous writers of the mysterious and the macabre. His poems and short stories are frequently taught in schools, and when radio drama was popular in the middle decades of the 20th century, Cherry said Poe’s works were frequently performed on such popular radio programs like “Inner Sanctum,” “The Weird Circle,” “Suspense,” and “CBS Radio Mystery Theater.”
“There's a long tradition of having Poe’s short stories being performed via the radio,” the director said. “His stories are really evocative, and the language is really beautiful, but also really creepy. And as a result, it translates really well to radio.”
The cast of “Twisted Tales of Poe” include Eli Akers ’22, Paul Haesemeyer ’21, Drew Johannes ’23, Sammy Lebron ’22, Hawk Ricketts ’23, Sebastian Wang ’22, and Professor of Music Alex Badue.
Cherry said he’s proud of the work students have put in to make this production possible.
There have been many challenges and obstacles actors have had to overcome, such as rehearsing at a safe physical distance from castmates and performing in costume inside what Cherry describes as “plastic boxes.” But even during these odd COVID times, the talented students have “given it their all,” and are expected to deliver a great show.
“Being back in the theater after a year has shown us that we take these things, the arts, for granted,” Cherry said. “It feels like a whole new thing, but it’s been a lot of fun and exciting. And I think the students had a really good time, too, and look forward to performing live.”