County Seat Theater is ready with its next award-winning showAfter long consideration,the County Seat Theater Company decided to participate in the this year's theater competition with Eric Coble’s drama “Nightfall With Edgar Allan Poe.”
After “Wiley and the Hairy Man” won a slew of awards – making its way through competitions ranging from the state and the regional community theater festivals and on to the National Festival in 2011 as well as the World Festival of Children’s Performing Arts in Toyama, Japan, in 2012 – County Seat Theater Company General Manager Joel Soukkala said the theater group wasn’t certain it was ready to enter another festival cycle.
After long consideration, however, the theater company decided to participate with Eric Coble’s drama “Nightfall With Edgar Allan Poe.”
Edgar Allan Poe stands alone in the flickering darkness of his mind, trying desperately to convince himself – and us – that he’s not mad. The spell he weaves brings us a highly theatrical adaptation of three tales Poe considered his best. Poe wrote his most famous poem, “The Raven,” during the agonizing illness and eventual death of his beloved wife, Virginia. The “Pit and the Pendulum” is the study of a man’s desperate attempt to survive a torture chamber during the Spanish Inquisition. The “Tell-Tale Heart” reveals the mind of an obsessed man who attempts the perfect crime.
Seasoned actor Michael “Beatsie” Rosen – who portrays Poe – has been studying the writer’s works for over 35 years and portrays the character with ease.
“This is a dream come true,” said Rosen, who will be entering his first Minnesota Association of Community Theaters Festival with the troupe March 14-17 in Brooklyn Park, Minn.
The mysterious shadow voices of Poe are played by Ruthie Zissos, Jodie Jurek and Keith Chapin. Bruce Blacketter Jr. plays the part of the raven that swoops in from the window and perches itself upon the door of Poe and delivers the unforgettable line “Nevermore.” Rick Breuer, Archie Leppi and Kirk Davis fill the remainder of roles that transition effortlessly from story to story.
Local talent Tom Cawcutt Sr. adds yet another layer to this production, performing live piano music from the stage throughout the entire performance.
Director Cheryl Kramer-Milder describes the show as “a fantasy piece that offers us the opportunity to be creative.”
“The mood of the play, of course, is very different this year,” she said, comparing the show to the light-hearted “Wiley and the Hairy Man” production. “We love to show the versatility of the talent here.”
The County Seat Theater Company will present local performances of “Nightfall With Edgar Allan Poe” at the Encore Performing Arts Center for one week only. The show will run March 7-10. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. each day, with additional matinee performances at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets can be reserved by calling the box office at 218-878-0071 or online at www.countyseattheater.com.
A special art show opening featuring themed works will be held from 5:30- 7 p.m. Monday, March 4, in the Encore gallery. The show will feature pieces by local artists and is open to the public as a free event.
The County Seat Theater Company is located in the Encore Performing Arts Center, at 2035 Highway 33 South (on Frontage Road) in Cloquet. The theater offers a full season of local performances, as well as youth productions, musical acts plus an art gallery featuring work by local artists.