No Halloween is complete without tales of horror from the pen of Edgar Allen Poe, and there are four of his juiciest on stage at the Spire, in downtown Jamestown.
''The Raven,'' ''The Fall of the House of Usher,'' ''The Pit and the Pendulum,'' and ''The Tell-Tale Heart'' are the four parts of the production, which is titled ''Nightfall With Edgar Allen Poe.'' It has been adapted for the stage by Eric Coble. The production is presented by Big Time Productions, and was directed by Ylsa Giuffre.
The production was reviewed in dress rehearsal, and no printed program was available yet, so we regret the absence of any information which was not available to us.
Miguel Covarrubias portrayed the writer himself, and because Poe usually equips his writing with a strong narrative voice, he was able to play the same character straight through all four tales. Most of his narration was clear and clean, although throughout most of ''The Pit and the Pendulum,'' he narrated from off stage, and it was much more difficult to hear and understand. The adapter of the text somehow left the Inquisition completely out of the story, which left anyone not familiar with the original short story wondering why the character was imprisoned and being tortured. The prisoner was liberated by a nurse, instead of the French Army, but it worked well, otherwise.
Other cast members usually played multiple roles. They included April Steenburn, Michael Frank, Laura Carnes, Shannon Nixon, Melinda Centi, Jolynn Triscari, Martin Swalboski, Josh McCord, and Jillianne Dolce Higgs.
There were a few production problems, which is not unusual at a dress rehearsal. One scene change took painfully long. There were a couple of memory failures.
The scenery was attractive, the lighting was especially good, and the cast demonstrated a great deal of energy.
Poe's writing nearly always includes a mounting intensity, often leading to a raving insanity, and when even a tiny disruption happened it would break that intensity. There were a number of mispronunciations which kicked the audience right out of the mounting mood.
It's always fun to see your friends and neighbors take on a good story, and to that end, the result is a very good time.
The show opens officially tonight, and repeats tomorrow, and Oct. 12 and 13, at the Spire, which is located on East Third St., directly across from the U.S. Post Office.