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First Folio Theatre Presents Madmen & Prisoners: Two Tales By Poe

The online streaming video begins October 20.

By: Oct. 13, 2020
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In its continuing mission to help address the absence of live theater performances, First Folio Theatre will offer a streaming video recording of MADMEN & PRISONERS: TWO TALES BY POE, adapted for the stage by David Rice and directed by Skyler Schrempp.

This streaming video contains two excerpts from First Folio's 2018 production of The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Pit and the Pendulum." These performances were recorded live during a 2018 performance of the full-length production of The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe. Filming was done with a live audience in various rooms of Mayslake Hall, a historic, haunted mansion on the grounds of the Peabody Estate in Oak Brook, Illinois.

The show will be streaming on the Vimeo video service October 20 - November 1. Tickets are available on a Pay-What-You-Can basis, and anyone who purchases a ticket to any of the 12 offered evenings will receive a link and password that will allow them to watch the video at any time during that period.

"The Tell-Tale Heart" (featuring Christian Gray as Edgar Allan Poe, Sam Pearson as The Madman, and Josh Bernaski as The Policeman) is one of Poe's most famous tales. High up in a garret above the streets of 19th C Baltimore, a frantic, disheveled man tells the audience his story of being haunted by the "vulture eye" of an old man and how he resolved to rid himself of that terror. As he weaves his tortured tale, he slowly draws the audience into his own insanity...until a policeman arrives to investigate, and events take an unexpected turn for everyone. Come join the journey into a man's madness.

In "The Pit and the Pendulum," audience members are led into a 15th C dungeon in Toledo, Spain, where an innocent man has been imprisoned by the Spanish Inquisition, sentenced to live out the remainder of his life in a stone cell. Plunged into darkness (along with the audience), the terrified captive struggles to discover, and survive, the dangers of his prison before he suffers a horrible death. Featuring Mbali Guliwe as the Prisoner with Joel Moses as the Monk, this is an immersive story that will have audience members thinking about sleeping with the lights on for the next few evenings.

Individuals may obtain tickets on a Pay-What-You-Can basis. Teachers may obtain access to this video for use in their classes free of charge. First Folio will also provide both teachers and individual ticket holders access to extra original content, including a study guide and two video interviews with Christian Gray (discussing what it is like to play a figure like Poe) and David Rice (discussing the process of adapting Poe's works to the stage). Patrons who choose to pay any amount for their tickets will receive a donation receipt which will allow them to deduct the amount spent as a charitable donation on their income taxes at the end of the year.

Nominated for a Jeff Award for "Best Adaptation" when it premiered in 2008, First Folio's production ofThe Madness of Edgar Allan Poehas become a perennial audience favorite. First Folio is proud to offer these two excerpts for at-home entertainment during this time of pandemic.

The production team includes Original Music and Sound Design by Christopher Kriz, Scenic Design by Kyle Gettelman, Lighting Design by Michael McNamara, Costume Design by Rachel Lambert, and Movement Design by Michael Goldberg.Sarah West is the Stage Manager. Video transcription was done by Bobby Richards.

Tickets are Pay-What-You-Can. Choose any performance and you'll be able to viewMADMEN & PRISONERS: TWO TALES BY POEany time between October 20 - November 1. Tickets can be purchased online at and teachers who wish to arrange free access to this streaming content as well as a copy of the study guide should contact David Rice at


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