Brat Productions Brings Edgar Allan Poe's Body To The Stage In HAUNTED POE, Runs Thru 11/1

By: Oct. 06, 2009

During this the 200th anniversary year of Edgar Allan Poe's birth, Brat Productions will unearth the images, characters and scenes from works by the master of the macabre for the world premiere of Haunted Poe, a theatrical production uniting literature, history and theater with the haunted attraction genre.

A 10,000 square foot warehouse will be transformed into an eerie maze of chambers into which audiences will be guided through short vignettes designed to surprise and shock in unexpected ways. "In each room, around every corner, another scare awaits," said Producing Artistic Director Michael Alltop.

The 11 featured tales include "The Tell-tale Heart," "The Raven," "The Black Cat," "The Masque of the Red Death," "The Cask of Amontillado," and "The Pit and the Pendulum," written by Poe in Philadelphia, between 1838-1844.

Haunted Poe will run through November 1, 2009 at 38 Jackson Street in Philadelphia. Timed tickets, ranging from $10 - $25, will be available at beginning July 6. [A full performance schedule and ticket details follow in the fact sheet below.] The performance dates will coincide with the Third International Edgar Allan Poe Conference: The Bicentennial, scheduled for October 8-10 at the Hyatt Regency at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia.

Haunted Poe begins with the premise that the author's remains have been exhumed from Westminster Cemetery in Baltimore and brought to Philadelphia for the anniversary of his death (October 7, 1849). With Poe's return to the place of some of his greatest literary achievements, he is brought back to life to guide us through his imagination.

Alltop, who conceived the work, went on to say, "Audiences will witness a plot being hatched by a madman; see a corpse take on life as shrieks erupt from under shaking floorboards; peek through holes in the wall to spy on unspeakable crimes; navigate their way through tunnels lined with skeletons; and look in vain for an escape as the walls of a room close in on them."

A team of talented Philadelphia artists has been assembled for Haunted Poe: award-winning director/actor/playwright Madi Distefano, founder of Brat Productions in 1996, shapes this theatrical amusement; playwright Bruce Walsh adapts his keen sense of writing for alternative venues for the script; Brad Helm, former designer and technical director for Eastern State Penitentiary's Terror Behind the Walls, oversees production elements, including sound, video, lighting, costumes, special effects, masks, puppets, blood and gore; and "Philly Poe Guy" Edward Pettit provides literary and historical context.

Haunted Poe is a theatrical project that differs from other haunted attractions. There will be no roaring chainsaws or pulsing lights, no reliance on sonic blasts or hydraulic monsters. Although modern technology will be used in the production, the costumes, props and scenic elements will be period-correct, with chills derived from the psychological thrills that are the hallmark of Poe's work. His catalog of terror - phobias, insanity, nightmares, haunted houses, torture, premature burial, murder, dismemberment, ghosts and the undead - will be ever-present.

Brat Production's Haunted Poe has been funded by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative with additional support from the Marketing Innovation Program.