BWW Interview: Ari Stidham Talks EDGAR ALLAN SHOW, Poe That Is
The Edgar Allan Show is about to open at the Two Roads Theatre in Studio City. With material from Poe's famous stories rewritten in a silly vein and original music by Ari Stidham, you are bound to knock your socks off. Here's what Stidham has to say for his work.
Just how silly is your show? I love Edgar A. Poe, but am usually prepared to be scared out of my wits.
Our silliness lands somewhere between Looney Tunes and Monty Python. Poe frequently used unreliable narrators in his work, we have as well. Our cast portray a very serious and excitable troupe of touring actors. It is these "actor personas" that inform most of the comedy in our show.
Without creating a spoiler alert, can you give our readers one example of crazy comedy in the show?
One example is when the actors have staged Poe's biography, and they've clearly taken liberties with a great deal of his colleague's names. Instead of regular names like "Margaret" or "Nathan" - Poe encounters a soldier literally named 'The Raven' -- it gets sillier but I don't want to give too much away. The show is different every night due to the audience interaction portions. Okay, one more silly thing; we have three slide whistles.
Are your songs extensions of the recitals? Do they forward the plot or are they just there for comedic purposes?
They bookend the show, and "Tell-Tale Heart" is performed as a musical. While I wrote a good deal of the lyrics, most are Poe's words. The compositions come from my album "Jacuzzi Louie" , though you'd never recognize them with the new lyrics, as well as the new arrangements and production by Louis Ramsey. They are now full of synths, just in time for Halloween, and family friendly.
Which of the Poe classics is your personal favorite? Why this choice?
I personally love the "Murders at the Rue Morgue" -- I think I like it because I read it after I'd gotten over my initial fear of Poe.
I saw a production of "The Fall of the House of Usher" as a child, that was my first introduction to Poe. It was nail biting, and it left me petrified. There was a jump scare at the end of the play, and I'd never felt that real level of terror in my life. I was psychologically scarred. The Edgar Allan Show is NOTHING like that. We have a didgeridoo. Did I mention the slide whistles?
Talk about Halloween and why you say the show is for all ages? Will kids really understand the humor? Will it put them in the spirit for trick or treating?
I'm born and raised here, and I know that Los Angeles has a lot to offer during the Halloween season. This show is for folks who'd rather laugh than get spooked. I've tailored the show to be light hearted and family friendly for a modern audience. Not only is it a comedy with moments for people of all ages, but any novices in the crowd will learn about Poe in a fun and funny light.
Have you ever presented this show before? If so, how did audiences react? If not what do you expect from them?
This is a world premiere. I'd like the audience to leave with a better appreciation for the magnitute of Poe's work. I'd also really like them to laugh. I can guarantee they won't be bored.
Anything else you care to mention may go here.
We've got a wonderful cast that can be seen on TV as we speak. Kimia Behpoornia (Abby's, Unicorn Store) slays as the "Player King" and Jordan R. Coleman (Snowfall) sings sweeter than Celine Dion. I am so excited to work with this cast and even more excited to share this show with the world. We are offering a group rate online or bundles of 4 tickets at $70. There are also ticket giveaways on my instagram @aristidham and the show's instagram @EdgarAllanShow