As reported on DigitalJournal.com in September, the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum is in peril
of closing due to budget cuts by the City of Baltimore. It is estimated that the museum will close "at the end of June 2012" if it cannot find ways to be self-sustaining.
In the midst of this doom and gloom, there are rays of hope. Fundraising efforts are underway and one that is deliriously noteworthy is "The Delirium of Edgar Allan Poe." This "immersive theatrical performance" is presented by Bedlam Ensemble
and all of the profits from ticket sales
will be donated to the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum in Baltimore. When asked what motivated Bedlam Ensemble to stage "The Delirium of Edgar Allan Poe" and donate all profits to the Poe Museum, Kimberly Marie Freeman
, who is Bedlam Ensemble's artistic director, actor in and co-producer of this performance, said:
Edgar Allan Poe is an American Institution. He is as much a part of America as apple pie and Thanksgiving. Every single person has been touched by his work whether they realize is or not. Even if you have never picked up a Poe book, just a little research on the man himself will show you the depth that his work has touched us in our modern society. Obviously literature is the obvious connection, but everything from architecture, movies and fashion have been touched by or influenced by Poe.
The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum should not be allowed to close. Its not right for such a well respected literary icon to have part of his history destroyed/closed. Its part of the Poe legacy which in turn is part of American history and should be treated with the respect it deserves.
Freeman also spoke of Bedlam Ensemble taking a stand and doing what they could to preserve the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum. "At Bedlam Ensemble, we felt it was important to try and make a stand and help preserve the Poe House as best we can," Freeman said. "As an ensemble based theatre company, every member of Bedlam contributed towards the proposal to donate all profits to the Poe House and all members were keen to do something to make a difference. As actors and dancers, it made the most sense to use our talent and Poe's own words combined to try and save the Poe House. As no one in Bedlam is paid, and we operate as a nonprofit organization, using the profits from the show in an altruistic manner fitted with our company ethos".
What will the performance entail? The performance will be "a night of adaptations from Edgar Allen Poe's breath taking pieces (Including The Raven, The Cask of Amontillado, Berenice and The Fall of the House of Usher). During the evening, we will present unique dramatizations of his chilling compositions focusing on the most grotesque fragments of human behavior."
I asked Freeman what audience members should expect in terms of the set, costumes, music, and interaction? "The set is purpose built with specially designed and purchased costumes to create a very unique piece of work. All costumes have a Victoriana/Steampunk feel," Freeman said. "We opted to take the route of a non traditional theatre piece so that the audience were fully emerged within the show. Every aspect of the space is of a tangible nature and the audience are encouraged to move around and interact with everything around them. Having a live band (You Bred Raptors?) at all performances encourages the audience to interact with the actors and players in a way that is very personal and sometimes unnerving. The audience will be setting the pace for the entire show and will decide where and when things will reveal themselves."
Performances of "The Delirium of Edgar Allan Poe" will take place at Altered Stages 2, located at 150 West 28th Street in New York, and will be held Oct. 28, 29 and 30; and, Nov. 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, and 13. All performances start at 8 PM and tickets
are $22 - $35.
Bedlam Ensemble is a thriving community of artists, and speaking for them, Freeman said, "As a multi-cultural organization, every single one of us felt our lives and work had been touched by the writing of Poe in one way or another." If you have been touched by Poe, and in all likelihood you have, then a journey to New York City's Altered Stages 2 to see, and participate in, "The Delirium of Edgar Allan Poe" just may be what you can do to help preserve the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum