On November 9, 2018, the eleventh and twelfth grade AP English classes attended a production of a variety of poems by esteemed poet, Edgar Allan Poe, at Mount Hope Mansion. To begin, the characters welcomed the audience warmly, their speech and mannerisms replicating that of the 1800’s—Poe’s time period. There was only three characters to start, two of which were part of an organization that almost idolized the poet. The third was a woman who believed she was able to talk to the deceased Poe, and she claimed that she had written poetry that his ghost had given to her.
One of the characters was extremely skeptical of this woman, believing her “abilities” to be a hoax, as he was not superstitious at all. However, after performing a seance, the woman was “possessed” by Poe’s spirit. With this, she recited the whole of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, The Raven. However, soon she found that Poe’s spirit had a different proposal, as the other character was still incredibly skeptical. The lights went out, and when they came back on, Edgar Allen Poe had appeared amongst the three. From here, the three characters scrambled to put on small theatrical performances for the spirit of Poe, all of which was his own works. He joined them for a few performances, and though there was little for the actors to work with in terms of props, they did wonderfully with just a few different pieces.
Overall, the concept of this performance was very intriguing, and actually based on a real woman who believed that Edgar Allan Poe’s spirit spoke to her. However, of course, those performing in this were only actors and actresses, and they broke character at the end in order to give us some details about how they prepare for such a performance. It was intriguing to hear how they readied themselves, and how everything they did led up to such a breathtaking and well-done theatrical event. This experience was great for everyone involved, and should any future classes have the opportunity to go, it is highly recommended!