Edison Players to present Poe anthology

PIQUA — The Edison Stagelight Players will present “Festival of Horror: An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe,” Oct. 26 through Nov. 4 in the Robinson Theater at Edison State Community College’s Piqua Campus.

Several Shelby County residents are involved in the production, which plays at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 26-27 and Nov. 2-3 and at 3 p.m., Nov. 4. Tickets cost $7 for adults; $5 for students and $3 for students and will be available at the door. Children under 5 will not be permitted to attend.

“Festival of Horror: An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe” is an anthology show that will feature dramatizations of several of Poe’s most bone-chilling stories, including “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Oblong Box,” “The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven.”

Local participants are Sidney residents Steven Farris as Renelle, Bob Blindaur as Captain Hardy, Brandon White as Traveling Companion and Jennifer Scott, who directed “The Tell-Tale Heart”; Houston residents Owen Swigert as Monsieur Maillard and Austin Swigert as Male Lunatic No. 1 and First Policeman; Raven Boerger, of Russia, as Wyatt’s Wife/Female Lunatic No. 4; Jessica Poeppelman, of Fort Loramie, as Female Lunatic No. 2 and Sean McSwain, of Jackson Center, as the Prince/Keeper.

“In 2008, we produced Mortal Terror: An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe, so it only made sense to bring back Poe during its 10-year anniversary,” said Director/Producer Matthew Beisner. “Chris Garner, who also serves as production designer and co-director of this production, has never given up on the idea to bring Poe back to the stage. He put it in my ear every chance he could get during the past few years. His enthusiasm for the project was unparalleled, and I couldn’t deny that it was a great idea!”

While Poe’s stories make a return to the stage of Edison State, the show will take on a whole new direction.

“The show is completely different this time because the theme is set as a dark carnival troupe led by their demented ringmaster. Chris Garner came up with the idea of the creepy carnival theme, and I was 100 percent on board,” said Beisner.

Garner, of Piqua, is directing “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Oblong Box.” Emily Beisner, of Huber Heights, is directing “The System of Dr. Tarr” and “Professor Fether.”

Four of the six featured stories were written by Robert Mason and are part of his compilation, “An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe.” Matt Beisner wrote the “Festival of Horror” storyline and the adaptations of “The Masque of the Red Death” and “The Raven.” He directs those pieces.

Others involved in the production are Kyle Casey, Ashton Beisner, James Pezzimenti, Venessa Rodriguez and Lisa Snyder, all of Troy; Brock Hartzell, Kyle Flaute, Clarissa Kiehl, Jocelynn Garner, Kayla Dill, Katarina St. Yves, Jess Ritz and Becky Ritz, all of Piqua; Kevin Grogean, of Fletcher; Matt Cline, of Arcanum; Zaidee Himes, of Huber Heights; Allison Nicodemus, of Bradford; Melinda Spivey, of Tipp City; Bridget Collins, of Greenville; and Ben Bullock, of Yellow Springs.

Before the performance on Oct. 26, community members are invited to attend “The Celebration of the Life of Anne Vaccaro.” Vaccaro spent 18 years of her career teaching art and producing theater at Edison State Community College. A eulogy, memories and reflection will be in the Vaccaro-Myers Gallery and lounge area at 3 p.m. and a buffet dinner will follow at 5 p.m. in the Pavilion adjacent to the Atrium. The Edison Stagelight Players will then present “Festival of Horror: An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe” in her memory. Those interested in attending the celebration are asked to make reservations with David Myers at dmyers@edisonohio.edu.

For information about the production, call 937-778-8600.