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Nevermore - Never Better
Jonathan Christenson's, "NEVERMORE - THE IMAGINARY LIFE and MYSTERIOUS DEATH of EDGAR ALLAN POE" takes the age-old question of what happened to Mr. Poe in his final hours and presents it in an entirely untrodden, spectacularly creative, and wildly well-sculpted, multi-dimentional and brand-spanking-new storyline. The play reimagines Poe's entire life. It takes great liberties with a plot as fictional as it is believable - a storyline be-speckled with well-known truths and direct literary references - interlaceing these vital nuances effortlessly with a completely fictional plot-line, spanning the writer's earliest childhood moments to his final breath. The performance pays due homage to Poe's use of language, using lyrical rhythm and word-play that styleistically mirror that of the great protagonist - keeping time, time, time, in a sort of runic rhyme - that holds the audience captivated within the mind of a tortured genius as he descends into creative madness. The costumes, staging, and use of color and lighting have a decidedly Tim Burton-esque quality that elicits a dreamlike feel of mad-hatter-down-the-rabbit-hole-lunacy and symbolic playfulness. Although much of the play's nuances would likely be lost upon a person unfamiliar with the life and works of Mr. Poe, it is an undeniable pleasure for the Poe-lover to pick up on the quick-witted, blink-and-you'll-miss-it, amusingly sporadic references that make the newly-staged production consistent with the age-old-ever-nagging question of "What really happened to Edgar Allan Poe?". The storyline often fleetingly makes references to the majority of Poe's major works, spanning his stories: 'The Pit And The Pendulum', 'The Black Cat', 'The Tell-Tale Heart', and 'The Premature Burial', to his most notable poetry: 'Annabelle Lee', 'Eldorado', 'Israfel', 'A Valentine', 'A Dream Within a Dream', and of course, 'The Raven'. The play opens with Mr. Poe's work entitled 'Alone' and interweaves the idea of his "aloneness" throughout the entire play, culminating in his wish to be "left alone" by the spirits and characters of the stories that he himself has created. An absolute pleasure of a performance that will touch infinite imagination and a sinfully dark humor in all who have the chance to see it. Surely, Mr. Poe would be delighted.
Written on January, 23rd 2015
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