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Briar Woods High School Nevermore! Edgar Allan Poe, The Final Mystery

By • Nov 20th, 2013 • Category: Cappies, Virginia

If dreams are the fabrication of memories, what manner of webs are used to spin the intricate folds of one’s imagination? Inky letters seem to flee from the very pages of their books into a pool of supposition that surrounds Edgar Allan Poe in a vortex of his own characters made not of ink, but of flesh.

Nevermore! Edgar Allan Poe, The Final Mystery, written by Julian Wiles, premiered in 1994 with the Charleston Stage Company in South Carolina. Briar Woods High School’s rendition took the audience on an unforgettable traverse through the untamed mind of a harrowed poet. Edgar Allan Poe (Brandon Diaz) boarded a ship in Baltimore, setting sail for New York City, unaware that he would never reach its shores. On the contrary, Poe is little more than a captive on a hell-bound vessel captained by the devil (Alex Bertke) himself. Here a troubled man must fight to save his soul on a seemingly endless journey through poetry and nightmares or else face the consequences of an eternity “trapped on a ledge of his own imagination dangling between heaven and hell.”

Brandon Diaz captivated the fanatical, inebriated poet in his movement and posture as well as distant expressions that alluded to the cluster of thoughts constantly surging through Poe’s vivacious mind. Diaz applied diction to conceive clear, polished words that were audible to the audience’s understanding, despite the tricky language. Captain Jeremiah Reynolds (Cal Veatch) carried out a surprising plot twist that supplemented the looming darkness which seemed to surround Poe at every turn. Both Veatch and Bertke sustained energy and finesse throughout the entire course of the play, increasing an already sinister sense to their snide, malevolent characters. Prince Prospero (Christian Perez) instituted timely comic relief. Meanwhile Annabel Lee’s (Kayla Shroyer) soft character and voice was a light for Poe during desperate times. The Prince and Annabel provided a mollifying touch to an otherwise “midnight dreary” storyline.

The cast, sporadically lacking energy, rose to the occasion to generate suspense in scenes in which stakes were eminent, such as “Red Death” and “Nightmare Dance” (choreographed by Caitlin Gilligan). Lighting was regimented and judiciously correlated with the mood of the scene. Makeup lacked ingenuity, however, it was carefully applied. Although scene changes were long, running crew procured numerous props, such as sand, spinning set pieces, and furniture. The cast and crew worked exceedingly well to secure various appearing and disappearing acts, alternating actors and set pieces to simulate the allusion of a sudden appearance.

On the whole, Briar Woods High School’s production of Nevermore! indulged a resounding heartbeat in the swirling letters of Edgar Allan Poe’s soul, the echo forever lingering in the “kingdom by the sea,” casting the melancholy mystery across the audience of the tale of the poet and his beautiful Annabel Lee.

by Khrysgiana Pineda of Stone Bridge High School

Photo Gallery

Brittney Howard, Brandon Diaz, Jon Merlino Brittnay Howard, Christian Perez, Kyra Meister
Brittney Howard, Brandon Diaz, Jon Merlino
Brittnay Howard, Christian Perez, Kyra Meister
Nightmare Dance Cal Veatch, Brandon Diaz
Nightmare Dance
Cal Veatch, Brandon Diaz

Photos by Connie Bertke

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