Edgar Allan Poe sits, relaxed, in a wing back chair. Shadowy figures flank him, echoing the facts of his life. All around there is a steady motion as his memories flood into the room. Each time a new character appears, Poe observes them the same, whether they are a character he created, a person that he actually knew, or perhaps a combination of the two. The truly nightmarish moments of his memory are those that are based in reality, while the hellish creations he gave life to in his stories seem to comfort him. Waiting, patiently and beautifully, death has come for Poe one last time.
TBA Theatre is taking The Death of Edgar Allan Poe by local playwright Shane Mitchell to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival later this month for a week of performances. The script is 20 years old, and has been modified throughout the years as more research tools have become available. It has been produced many times in town, as well as being produced at Cornell University. It can also be seen perennially at the Edgar Allan Poe museum in Richmond, Virginia. With its historical relevance and educational component he originally envisioned the script to be a performance piece for teens and said “I wrote it for them, and on one hand they got it. There is a level at which a teen gets the sense of the gothic, the put upon, the oppressed that Poe is, better than adults do.” The 21 artists that are taking the show to Scotland are largely adult, and made Mitchell realize, “an adult cast understands the idea of a lifetime of loss, a lifetime of grief, of a sense of mourning that never leaves.”