Friday, 10 May 2013

21st Century Poe programme notes

"True! - nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?"

"During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher."

"I cannot, for my soul, remember how, when, or even precisely where, I first became acquainted with the lady Ligeia."

The vast majority of Edgar Allan Poe's greatest stories share the same formal starting point: someone, usually very disturbed, quite often insane, needs - in the most immediate, emphatic terms - to tell us the story of his strange experiences. And all the drama which follows is filtered at every point through the troubled personality of that narrator. Which means, for one thing, that Poe's stories lend themselves to being dramatised in a live storytelling format: this, indeed, might more closely approximate Poe's unique tone than the 'third person' format of more conventional film/TV/theatre dramatisation.  

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