Immersive Edgar Allan Poe Mystery 'THE COOPING THEORY' to Return with Halloween Edition
"The Cooping Theory: Who Killed Edgar Allan Poe?," Poseidon Theatre's immersive mystery production at St. Mazie Bar and Supper Club in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is resuming with a Halloween Edition from October 11 to 31, 2017. The show has been dark over the summer while Artistic Director Aaron Salazar and his team re-imagined the offering for the Halloween season.
"The Cooping Theory: Who Killed Edgar Allan Poe?" is written by Nate Suggs and Samantha Lacey in collaboration with Salazar, who directs. It's an immersive mystery production, in the genre of "Then She Fell" and "Sleep No More," wherein members of a fictional Poe Society attempt to solve the mystery of the author's death. The piece is staged amid dining and drinks in the reconstructed former speakeasy underneath St. Mazie Bar and Supper Club, 345 Grand Street, Williamsburg Brooklyn (between Havemeyer and Marcy).
The room accommodates up to 30 guests per night for an evening of craft cocktails, light fare, absinthe service and a paranormal experience, all set to the words of America's greatest master of the macabre.
One of the outstanding theories of Poe's death is "cooping," a gang-based form of election fraud that was common in the early 19th century. Innocent bystanders were kidnapped by so-called 'cooping gangs' or 'election gangs' and forced to vote repeatedly for candidates of the political machines. Victims were kept in a room called a "coop" and liquored up to make them compliant. Often wardrobes were switched and they were disguised with wigs or fake beards to fool poll watchers. If they refused to cooperate, they were beaten or killed. This theory of Poe's death has been increasingly proposed by Poe scholars since the 1870s.
But in the show, the theory becomes less of an explanation than a red herring. It is offered as one of several mysteries, which you can only solve depending on where you are sitting in the room. Other mysteries of the show are: was the medium a ghost, were all the characters ghosts and was it all a ruse? The audience members, who sit among people facing their collective horror, will wonder which one they identify with. Cerebral moments romanticizing Poe encourage us to savor the major theme of the show: the futility of explaining any present horror intellectually.
The actors are Ludovic Coutaud, Samantha Lacey, Dara Kramer and Gordon Palagi. Music is composed by Conor Heffernan and Manuel "Cj" Pelayo. Lighting design is by John Salutz. Costume design is by the ensemble. The speakeasy space, memorable and dramatic in itself, has been designed by John McCormick.
After you make your reservation, you receive an email invitation from the Poe Society to a cocktail party séance - it's all part of your orientation into the show. The drinking and dining menus are available on the production's website (www.poseidontheatrecompany.com/cooping-venue-menu).
Tickets are $75 plus $25 food/beverage minimum, with discounts available exclusively on Today Tix. The 90-minute show will be performed without intermission. Bookings can be made on the Poseiden Theatre website: Knock3xs.com.