City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Such (un)romance: Puppetry Arts’ ‘Edgar Allan Poe’

Poe-strangling old man (Small)

A scene from "The Tell Tale Heart," as it appears in the "Tales of Edgar Allan Poe." Photo courtesy Center for Puppetry Arts.

Oh, the romance of live theater! My Valentine and I caught  a performance of “Tales of Edgar Allan Poe” at the Center for Puppetry Arts this week when it kicked off its “Oh, Poe is Me!” Valentine’s weekend performances.

That means there’s a cash bar, audience-generated broken-hearted Valentines on the wall and the chance to get your “Poe-trait” taken with wig and moustache. (Yes, the evening was rife with Poe puns, and I don’t blame them. You can fit them everywhere, even this blog poe-st. HA.)


My Poe-trait: I'm in a better mood than Poe ever was.

Every time I see a show at the Center, I feel like I’ve learned something. If I went to “Mamma Mia!” at the Fox, I’d see a musical with a popular story, beloved music and an execution I expect. They sing! They dance! It’s fun, but I don’t necessarily learn anything except that ABBA is totally fabulous.

When I see a puppet show, I’m inevitably exposed to a new style of storytelling, in addition to a new take on a story. (Everybody knows Poe, but a lot of the Center’s shows shows are very new, with original music.) The Poe show felt more actor-driven than puppet-driven, but that’s all right: I saw something new, enjoyed the delivery and really loved the music and sound by Klimchak.

A few years removed from literature classes, it’s easy to forget how dark Poe’s work is. What you’re seeing on stage are the lingering effects of trauma and substance abuse. If you read “The Raven” in school and nothing more, you have seen only the shiny top layer of creepy. It gets much scarier. Lucky you, they act it out on stage, blood and all!

So, no, it’s not romantic. Not at all. Men take revenge, people go crazy, lovers die, and not even in the Romeo and Juliet kinda way. But I’d still call it a lovely way to spend Valentine’s Day.

Want to go? “Tales of Edgar Allan Poe” continues through Feb. 21. $11-$24. The Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-873-3391,


OK, so it didn't work out, but I bet it's still ends happier than any of Poe's stories. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

4 comments Add your comment

Jamie Gumbrecht

February 21st, 2010
10:34 am

Thanks, Poe blogger! I could have been more specific, but maybe I should check my memory, regardless: didn’t Poe have a number of alcohol-related troubles over the years? That was the substance I was thinking of, but of course, it’s been a long time since I’ve done much thinking about Poe’s life at all. :)

Poe blogger

February 21st, 2010
7:15 am

Wish I could see this show! But, quick note: A lot of people think they know Poe, but really don’t. Most of Poe’s work was not horror – much of it is comedy (good stuff, too). All of his work, be it horror or comedy or mystery, was fueled by the need to make money and give the reading public exactly what they wanted. His tales are not, as you say, “the lingering effects of trauma and substance abuse” – particularly because Poe was not a drug user, let alone an abuser. People seem to forget that Poe wrote fiction, and that nothing he wrote was autobiography (despite this show apparently casting Poe himself as the narrator of “The Tell-Tale Heart,” judging by the image). Poe would have loved the puns on his name (he did it too) and the fun atmosphere of this program – that’s the real Poe, the one most don’t know!

The Grinch

February 14th, 2010
10:36 am

I saw it there a couple of years ago; well worth it indeed.


February 14th, 2010
10:20 am

I love this show. My valentine and I are going to see it this evening as our ‘date.’ Dark romanticism is romantic to me — so this is right up my alley. Good review… the show truly IS excellent!