DARK HEART OF POE
On stage October 26, 27, 28, 2017
28720 Canwood St #108, Agoura Hills, CA 91301
Thursday & Sat, 8pm – Saturday 2pm Matinee
Special Friday Midnight show
Oh, how Agoura has needed a live theatre since the Stage Door closed years ago. A town so intimately linked to the entertainment industry should be ripe for just such a venture, and now the city has reason to celebrate: not only is live theatre alive and well again, but this Halloween it’s rapping upon our chamber door.
Lit Live Productions revives A.D. Hasselbring’s “Dark Heart of Poe” this weekend, a live adaptation of the macabre writer’s finest stories. Austin Miller and Travis Winterstein breathe strikingly fresh life into Poe’s crisp language, presenting the tales as a series of interwoven dialogues.
A show so rich in language requires a cast prepared to use everything at their disposal to maintain their audience’s attention, and director Morgan Keough has done well to help Miller and Winterstein dig deep into their bag of tricks. The duo’s performances are both highly entertaining and worthy of Poe’s classic works.
Upon entering, the actors each don a scarf from a coat rack, the two pieces of cloth as intertwined as the dialogue and the actors themselves remain throughout. Soon Winterstein is leading the audience through ‘To’ and ‘Dreams,’ which Hasselbring has cleverly written to bounce back and forth like an echo. They lead into the well-known tale of Prince Prospero in ‘The Masque of the Red Death,’ and utilizing Brandon Molnar’s lighting sequences, Winterstein & Miller walk us through the mansion where the masquerade party is being held. Here, Winterstein as Prospero confronts a man he thinks has come dressed in a tasteless costume – only to find the man is the very thing he fears most. Winterstein coughs his way through the show in a way that will have audiences recoiling for fear of catching whatever he seems to have; you might think he slept out in the cold some nights as a method acting technique.
Next it’s Miller’s turn to lead us through the slow process of creeping into an old man’s room with the intent of murdering him and burying his body beneath the floorboards in ‘The Tell-Tale Heart.’ When the police arrive, no matter how calm Miller pretends to be or what noise he makes he can’t drive out the beating of the hideous heart and his all-consuming guilt. Miller’s control of the material is excellent here, supported again by Winterstein’s hacking cough.
When Winterstein takes to a desk and hears the knocking upon his chamber door in Poe’s finest work, it’s a little like hearing a classic rock band perform new material before kicking into their familiar greatest hit. ‘The Raven’ was first written for a New York magazine in 1845 and still stands as the Baltimore writer’s most recognizable and arguably perfect work. It’s a delight to see it performed on one of our newer local stages, couched by the equally splendid ‘El Dorado,’ ‘Dreams’ and ‘The Cask of Amontillado.’ Lit Live’s production will leave Poe fans and audiences pleased – if not coughing along.
Dark Heart of Poe
October 26-28, 2017
28720 Canwood St #108, Agoura Hills, CA
Tickets: 805-208-8686 or online at:
Tickets: $17 – 20.00, $25 for Friday Midnight Performance
More info: http://www.litlivetheaterco.com