Tuesday, November 2, 2021

An Evening of Poe in Renton

So, thanks to Janice's having seen a mention of it on Facebook, the night before Halloween we went to see an evening of Poe at an old theatre in downtown Renton.

I had expected this to be a one-man show, like the one we saw just off the Maple Valley Road two years or so ago, which focused on EUREKA, or the excellent John Astin performance we saw near Chicago over twenty years ago.  Instead it turned out to be readings by a three-person troupe.

First up came THE RAVEN, as was thoroughly appropriate.

But they followed this with a piece I cd have done without: THE BLACK CAT. I can see why they'd want to do this one for Halloween but still its a story of animal cruelty and mutilation I cd have done without. I'd have much preferred THE TELL-TALE HEART if they were going the first-person-told-by-a-madman route.

Then came THE HAUNTED PALACE, which I think of as one of Poe's minor poems and not one I wd have picked, given the riches they had to choose from (ALONE, A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM, ULALUME, ANNABELL LEIGH, EL DORADO).

Oddly enough, rather than end up with THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (which 'Haunted Palace' wd seem to have set up), they closed with the tale USHER II  by Ray Bradbury. Not one of his more subtle pieces, but despite the main character's tendency to shout they did a fairly good job of it.

All in all, an enjoyable evening.  But given the Poe/Bradbury juxtaposition, I don't want to let the opportunity pass to share Bradbury's poem about Poe. I've posted it in this blog before, but that was as far back as 2008, so it seem high time to share it again.


"I Have A Brother, Mostly Dead" 

I have a brother, mostly dead
And angels curled upon his head
Most of my life, mostly unseen,
And yet I feel with him I've been
A cohort playmate friend of Poe
Who tours me where live friends can't go . . .

And so my brother, dead, you see
Is wondrous literate company.
Thus if my Muse says: Nevermore!
I hear a tapping at my door;
My brother comes to saviour me
With graveyard biscuit, rictus tea . . . 

So Idea Ghosts sit up again . . . 
And shape themselves with words for clothes.
All this my long lost brother does
This sibling spent before my cause . . .

. . . sweet brother, flower my tomb
With words so rare and phrase so bright
They'll bonfire burn away the night.

All this to me lost brother is
And I his live sweet Lazarus.
His shout ignore? his cry refuse?
No, no! Much thanks, long-dead fine Muse.

--Ray Bradbury

1 comment:

David Bratman said...

I once attended a program at a World Fantasy Con which consisted of three authors, each reciting "The Raven" in turn. Each gave a distinctly different style of reading, but they were all good.