Oak Park Festival Theatre brings back 'The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story' Oct. 15-Nov. 7

  • Christian Gray as Poe in Oak Park Festival Theatre's 2019 production of "The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story." This year's production opens Friday, Oct. 15.

    Christian Gray as Poe in Oak Park Festival Theatre's 2019 production of "The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story." This year's production opens Friday, Oct. 15. Courtesy of Oak Park Festival Theatre

 
 
Updated 10/11/2021 3:31 PM

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 Oct. 15-Nov. 7.

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 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.

Last staged in 2019, 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 cast of Oak Park Festival Theatre's 2019 acclaimed production of "The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe" is back. 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).

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.

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Oak Park Festival Theatre presents David Rice's "The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story" Oct. 15-Nov. 7 at Pleasant Home, 217 Home Ave. in Oak Park. Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 1 p.m. Saturday; and 3 and 8 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are general admission. Ticket price: $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 oakparkfestival.com.

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