IF YOUR idea of true romance is more “Annabel Lee” than The Notebook, Savannah Stage Company is here to offer a perfect Valentine date night.
In a bone-chilling kickoff to their third season, the organization presents John Hardy’s Poe, which weaves American author Edgar Allan Poe’s storied life with two of his most beloved shorts: “William Wilson” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
“We mostly center the season around literary classics that have been adapted or abridged,” explains Director of Advancement Alexis Ambrose. “Mostly because we like to fashion theatre for all ages, so that at any show you can bring anyone of any age to that show.”
This isn’t Savannah Stage Company’s first time performing a Hardy adaptation.
“We did another one of his adapted plays last summer, Oedipus the King,” Ambrose says. “We enjoy working with his scripts—he’s a wonderful writer.”
“William Wilson” is a timeless doppelgänger tale with a semi-autobiographical setting, drawing inspiration from the “misty-looking village” Poe lived in as a boy in England. The school William Wilson attends ins based on the Manor House School that Poe attended from 1817 to 1820, and the school’s headmaster, Reverend John Bransby, shares a name with the headmaster in “William Wilson.”
And who can forget the ominous thumping of Gothic classic “The Tell-Tale Heart”? One of Poe’s most widely-known stories, “The Tell-Tale Heart” is told in the first person by a servant who, driven mad by his master’s “vulture-eye,” murdered the old man and hid the body in the floorboards. As he attempts to convince the reader of his sanity, the pulse of the old man’s heart, coming from somewhere under those floorboards, grows increasing louder and louder and louder.
“I think that this script has a brevity that is perfect to get into the world of Edgar Allen Poe and his life,” says Ambrose excitedly.
“And we like the idea of offering a kind of anti-Valentine’s Day,” she laughs.
While Ampersand is their main stage, they’ll also take the show on the road, hitting local libraries, retirement homes, and schools, including Bethesda Academy, The Marshes of Skidaway, and more.
“All of our shows are completely open for tour at any time,” says Ambrose.
And don’t forget Savannah Stage Company’s pay-what-you-can policy. A crucial element of their organization, the flexible cover allows any and all to see local, professional theatre.
“Even if you can’t afford the $15 ticket price, we always encourage people to come pay what you can—even pay a penny—to see the show,” she says. “We always open that up ten minutes before the show opens. You can always walk right up.”
Make sure to hang around on opening night for the after-party; attendees will be able to speak with and get to know the cast, as well as learn more about all of Savannah Stage Company’s exciting opportunities and upcoming season.