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ABC Players actors Jessica Osborn and Terrence Smith portray the characters of The Raven and Poe, respectively, during the media night showing of Nightfall at Stuart's Theater in Nelsonville, Ohio. (Brien Vincent | Staff Photographer)

Poe play wraps up Halloween season

Halloween may have passed and the Block Party debris may be cleaned up, but a local theater troupe is giving one last chance to get into the spooky spirit.

Thursday, the ABC Players will present Nightfall with Edgar Allen Poe by Eric Coble at Stuart’s Opera House, 52 Public Square.

The show is a journey of Poe (Terrence Smith) and his descent into madness as shown by the progression of some of his classic stories — “The Raven,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

“Poe tells the stories as if they’re his memories,” director Miranda Miller said. “He’s progressively going crazy and by ‘The Tell-Tale Heart” he’s lost it. You’re trying to figure out if he’s actually a mad man or a genius.”

Miller said she chose the play because she has always been a fan of Poe’s work, and wanted to share it with an audience.

“I have always loved Poe’s stories, and when I read the play I really felt that the work did his stories justice,” she said.

The show, which is narrated by Gary Hillyer, is cast by a large group of actors who play characters inside Poe’s stories. Many characters have numerous lengthy lines, which is something that Miller said she kept in mind while casting.

This aspect of the show proved difficult for Smith, who is returning to the ABC Players after a 10-year absence.

“When they called me and told me I got the role, I knew I had to be prepared for learning all of the lines and the blocking,” Smith said. “It proved to be daunting at first, but we’re polishing it up.”

Despite the fact that Poe’s stories are more than 200 years old, Miller said that the show is still important to present to audiences today.

“Many young people today don’t even know who Poe is, which is such a tragedy,” she said. “For those who don’t know him hopefully they will gain a respect and understanding for his work. For those who do, hopefully they will be taken on a dark journey.”

Though Halloween has passed, Megan Wanczyk, public relations head for the ABC Players, said that the show still fits into the mystery of the season.

“The show is the perfect follow-up to this Halloween season,” she said. “There is no better season to remind yourself why Poe is one of our most celebrated writers of the macabre.”

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