Throughout the annals of American literature, no author has stirred the murky recesses of our imagination as Edgar Allan Poe. Fueled by a peculiar sensation of the supernatural, the Master of the Macabre composed a haunting anthology of 19th century classics highly praised by the literary world for more than 150 years.
While Poe’s poetry is often regarded as superb as Shakespeare’s, there are few theatres in America performing Poe’s creations for the live stage. Consequently , the on going Poe festival known as “Poe Evermore” which is about to celebrate its 22nd successive season in the Victorian Mansion at Mount Hope Estate and Winery in PA attests to Poe’s distinctive style. The hauntingly impressive 207-year-old Mount Hope Mansion, with its sandstone portico’s and candlelit rooms, has developed into the ultimate backdrop for presentation pieces faithful to Poe’s original texts. On November 2nd, whilst the doors to “Poe Evermore” swing open, guests will discover the Mansion transformed into the dilapidated and decrepit House of Usher establishing a clearly identifiable ambiance of Gothic drama. Poe himself, along with his uncanny bizarre characters, taken from his tales of mysteries and mayhem are depicted by members of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire Actor’s Conservator. These actors fill the Mansion hallways biding welcome to an evening of spine tingling hair raising tales.
The evening embarks on a sampling of Mount Hope’s special hot mulled wine to help remove the bite from the chilly autumn air. The accumulating guests, after having been presented to Edgar Allan and friends, are then conveyed about the Mansion; whose rooms have become comfortable cozy theaters.
In addition to “The Fall of the House of Usher,” an enduring tale of terror so grand it drives the mind to lunacy and devastation. Poe Evermore will highlight the telling of the “Pit and Pendulum.” Poe’s piercing words make it almost unfeasible not to feel for the poor soul struggling to survive in a deep pit in the pitch black dungeons of the Spanish Inquisition only to discover himself strapped to a slab in a rat-infested cavern, facing a razor-sharp pendulum as it little by little descends, swinging ever closer to his heart.
Concerning the “The Cask of Amontillado,” the misfortunes of Fortunato become indelibly impressed upon guests psyche when the enigmatic Montressor, lays bear a diabolical narration that vengeance can be even more delicious than a fine, aged sherry.
No staged presentation of Poe’s works would be complete without a version of “The Raven,” Poe’s lasting poem of love lost, a living death, and a relentless, unwelcome tap-tap-tapping.
Intermingled throughout the evening are more tales of woe, unrequited love and other performances that will deliberately elevate your perceptions of the soul and the spirit.
Poe Evermore opens Friday, November 2, and runs through Wednesday, November 14. Friday shows are at 6 and 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday shows at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. Limited weekday shows are set for 7 p.m. Ticket prices are $19.95 weekends and $17.95 midweek.
Mount Hope Estate & Winery was placed on the National Register of Historical Places and is located on Route 72, ½ mile south of PA Turnpike exit 266, 15 miles north of Lancaster and 14 miles east of Hershey.