21st. CENTURY POE
13th July, 8.30pm, 14th July 7.00pm -- 6th International Solo Festival of One Man Shows – Lord Stanley Pub, 51 Camden Park Road, London NW1 9BH (Tickets £8 / £6 concession) 07989-746641
Marty Ross (BBC Radio horror; Doctor Who audio) drags Edgar Allan kicking & screaming into our era in a trilogy of storytelling performances!
"True! - nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?"
In virtually all the greatest chillers of Edgar Allan Poe, the same note is struck straightaway: an isolated, tormented narrator wants – needs! – to tell us of the strange and terrible experiences he has undergone. They are ideally suited, therefore, to contemporary theatre’s great comeback kid: live storytelling.
As a live theatrical storyteller with a flair for the gothic and macabre - an interest reflected in his parallel career as playwright for the likes of BBC radio’s “Marvelously chilling” (Guardian) Darker Side Of The Border, Ghost Zone & Catch My Breath, plus the forthcoming Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk for Radio 4, as well as Doctor Who and Dark Shadows audio drama - Marty Ross has seized upon the dramatic potential of Poe’s tales. But as a storytelling ‘modernist’ keen to shift this resurgent art form away from once-upon-a-time-in-a-land-far-away ‘folkiness’, he has no intention of presenting Poe’s stories as period pieces: rather he has radically updated and reshaped them to our era, both in plot & language.
Therefore, FALLING FOR THE USHERS (13th July, 20.30) shifts Poe’s incestuous siblings from their misty gothic manor to the world of Damien Hirst / Chapman Bros.– type contemporary art, while HEART SHAPED HOLE (6th, 9th Aug.) sets Poe’s Tell Tale Heart beating amid Glasgow tower block drug dealing. Perverse passions, substance abuse, macabre humour, extreme violence… shift Poe from his olde worlde settings to our times and one is close to the world of David Lynch, William Burroughs, even Irvine Welsh.
These two hour-long stories are being performed over two successive evenings, as part of the Solo Festival of One Man Shows at the Lord Stanley pub, in performances far removed from the comfy-chair raconteur-ing of too many people’s clichés of live storytelling. Ross’s performance style is in-your-face, expressionist, intensely physical… more Theatre of Cruelty than Jackanory. Experienced theatre folk who have managed to overlook live storytelling till now have been ‘astonished’ at the theatrical intensity of his performances. He did three shows at last year’s London Horror Festival and regularly performs in and around Nottingham, where he currently lives. In August, 21st. Century Poe (with the addition of a third story, LIGEIA – THIS IS (NOT) A LOVE SONG), will be performed at the Edinburgh Fringe.