If you are a fan of the horror genre, it is hard to ignore the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Known for his obsession with all things dark and macabre, Poe often portrayed these themes through his Gothic fiction style of writing. So, it is only fitting, that this Halloween (October 31), a theatre troupe will celebrate two of his popular pieces, The Raven (poem) and The Tell-Tale Heart (prose).
Staged by The Phoenix Players — a theatre group established in 1984 by Anita Salim and Salim Ghouse — both the pieces have been works in progress for over a year. Alumni of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, the duo have earlier interpreted the works of writers like William Shakespeare, Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi and Mahasweta Devi using elements like mime, movement and martial arts. Directed by Ghouse, the Raven will be enacted by his son Aaryama Salim (20) and The Tell-Tale Heart will feature actor KC Shankar, who you’ve probably seen in films like Heropanti (2015) and Guzaarish (2010).
Based on the story of a man waiting for his lost love, The Raven revolves around his imagined conversation with a raven, while The Tell-Tale Heart is about a murderer’s confession of his crime and the idea of alienation from the world. “Poe defined madness because during his time, mental health was not a popularly known or discussed concept. His stories hold relevance today, as urban lives have side effects like loneliness and this (The Tell-Tale Heart) is a story that can happen to anyone sitting next to you,” says Shankar.
The approach to these adaptations is minimalistic and experimental. So don’t go expecting grand sets and props. The actors will use body language and voice modulation to enhance their performances. This, in turn, is expected to add to the eerie theme of the event. “The idea is to not give much context to the audiences and allow them the freedom of imagination,” says Ghouse, who doesn’t like elaborate props and costumes.
And since Poe never wrote these pieces for the stage, Ghouse urges the audience to go beyond the expectation of entertainment and delve into the writer’s psyche. “He was a serious writer. His works make you think and tackle deep emotions,” says Ghouse.
What: The Tell-Tale Heart and The Raven will be performed on
When: November 1, 7pm onward.
Where: The Hive, Huma Mansion, opp Ahmed Bakery, Chuim Village Road, Khar (W)
Call: 96199 62969
Tickets: Rs 300