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Red-Eye to Havre de Grace
a Play with music/dance
CATEGORY :
by Thaddeus Phillips, Wilhelm Bros., Geoff Sobelle, Sophie Bortolussi

COMPANY : arts@tech [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Ferst Center for the Arts [WEBSITE]
ID# 4879

SHOWING : April 14, 2016 - April 16, 2016

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Set in September 1849, "Red-Eye to Havre de Grace" follows Edgar Allan Poe and the odd details surrounding his mysterious last days. Director Thaddeus Phillips of Lucidity Suitcase joins with musical duo Wilhelm Bros. & Co. for this new musical, informed by 19th Century train routes, historical accounts, and Poe’s own writing to create a haunting and spellbinding tale.


CAST & CREW LIST
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REVIEWS

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Grace in Motion
by playgoer
Friday, April 15, 2016
3.0
"Red-Eye to Havre de Grace" covers the period of time from Edgar Allan Poe’s last reading in Philadelphia to his death in Baltimore, where he was found lying face down, dressed in unfamiliar clothes, after having taken a train south from Philadelphia, even though his ticket was for north to New York. The play combines dialogue, readings, dance, and music to give an impressionistic recounting of this time period. The storytelling is atmospheric rather than being linear and dense with detail.

The set design of director Thaddeus Phillips consists primarily of a number of doors that can be tipped to turn into tables. Curtains and a mirror add other effects, aided by the often atmospherically murky lighting design of Drew Billiau and the eclectic costumes of Rosemarie McKelvey. The staging is complex and inventive. Robert Kaplowitz’s sound design lets everything be heard, although the balance tends to be a little heavy on the side of the musical score.

All four cast members sing, and three of them play instruments (grand piano, tinny piano, bowed piano, clarinet, flamenco guitar). The fourth, Ean Sheehy, plays Poe, and is the primary dance partner of Alessandra L. Larson, who appears as the ghost of Poe’s wife. The song writers, Jeremy Wilhelm (singer/clarinetist) and David Wilhelm (pianist/guitarist), also appear onstage, with Jeremy Wilhelm acting as a jack-of-all-trades in telling the story. All are excellent.

The production sets several of Poe’s poems and letters to music, occasionally in translation (French and Spanish), and returns to "Eldorado" and "Eureka" as touchstones in the storytelling. It’s at times informative, but doesn’t attempt to offer a definitive explanation of Poe’s behavior. The dance segments and music comment on his psyche, suggesting that he was haunted by the memory of his dead wife, but offer no solutions to the mystery of Poe’s final days, offering instead an empathetic, highly theatrical experience. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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