Following its sold-out summer show of “The Tempest,” Oak Park Festival Theatre brings David Rice’s immersive “The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story” to the historic Pleasant Home for Festival Theatre’s final remount of the play, Oct. 15-Nov. 7. Tickets: $44 (general admission) with special pricing available for seniors, students, and groups of 10 or more. For more information visit www.oakparkfestival.com.
Two years after the death of his beloved wife, Edgar Allan Poe (played by Christian Gray) grapples with love and madness in this wildly innovative theater experience. The audience will follow the ghost of Virginia Poe (played by Erica Bittner) as she stirs up memories from beyond the grave, or follow Poe himself as he winds his way from “The Telltale Heart” to “The Pit and the Pendulum.” This unique performance composed of six of Poe’s poems and short stories, leads audience members through historic Pleasant Home’s dark halls with a different tale of terror in every room. The Wednesday Journal hails Oak Park Festival Theatre’s production as
“an exciting, captivating tale of love, heartbreak, and horror... a unique theater experience I think I will always remember.” And the Chicago Reader applauds the “universally high level of performance brings out the best in Poe...Christian Gray is especially sublime as Poe.”
The 2019 cast returns to remount “The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe” one final time, this time in Pleasant Home. The cast includes Christian Gray (Edgar Allen Poe), Erica Bittner (Virginia Poe/Rowena), Joan Nahid (Ligeia), Dina Monk (Policeman/Angelo), Sara Rachel Schol (Luciana), Jillian Patterson (Helena/Ensemble) and Drew Straub (Soldier/Ensemble). Additional casting and the design team for this production will be announced at a later date.
Pleasant Home is a historic property owned by the Park District of Oak Park. It is considered one of the earliest and most distinguished examples of Prairie School Architecture in the nation and is operated by the Pleasant Home Foundation as a living museum. The house was designed in 1897 by noted architect George W. Maher for investment banker and philanthropist John W. Farson and his wife Mamie Ashworth Farson. The 30-room architectural gem is a showcase of 19th-century craftsmanship and artistry, with rich custom woodwork throughout the location, extraordinary art glass windows, a massive fireplace, intricate woodcarvings, and tile work. Pleasant Home is listed on The National Register of Historic Places and is an Oak Park Landmark and a National Historic Landmark.
Oak Park Festival Theatre presents David Rice’s ““The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story” at Pleasant Home, 217 Home Avenue, in Oak Park Oct. 15-Nov. 7. Performances are 8 p.m. (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday); 1 p.m. (Saturday) and 3 and 8 p.m. (Sunday). Ticket: $44. Special pricing is available for students, seniors, and groups over 10. Due to the close proximity of this immersive experience, proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required for all ticket holders. Audience will be required to wear facemasks throughout the performance. Children 12 and under are not permitted. For tickets or more information visit www,oakparkfestival.com.
Please note: There is seating for every patron attending the show. There are handrails on each of the staircases, but for those who wish to avoid stairs, there is an accessibility room on the main floor where they can view the two internal scenes set on the second and third floor on a monitor. Each scene is approximately 15-20 minutes in length and attendees are requested to remain seated during a scene. Audience will need to claim their ticket at least 5 minutes before curtain: any tickets unclaimed within 5 minutes of the show will be released to those on the waitlist. Run time is 90 minutes with no intermission.
About Oak Park Festival Theatre
Oak Park Festival Theatre is Oak Park’s premiere Equity theater, and the oldest professional outdoor classical theater in the Midwest. Since 1975, Oak Park Festival Theatre has produced more than 100 plays for thousands of theater-lovers, and is best known for summer outdoor shows performed under a canopy of stars in the idyllic Austin Gardens Park, located at 167 Forest Ave., Oak Park, Ill. It is the mission of OPFT to explore our shared humanity by telling stories that stand the test of time. By looking to our past and re-imagining the familiar, OPFT endeavors to hold a mirror up to the times in which we live, bringing us all a little closer.
Oak Park Festival Theatre is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit, charitable organization. Donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. For more information about Oak Park Festival Theatre visit www.oakparkfestival.com.
Oak Park Festival Theatre is supported by the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Park District of Oak Park, The Oak Park Area Arts Council, and many generous donors. Additionally, we are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency and the National Endowment for the Arts. Special thanks to our local partners the Wednesday Journal, the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation, and the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce.