Have you ever wondered how Edgar Allan Poe died?
Laura Carly Miller has.
Miller, who was born and raised in Maple Ridge, has co-produced and co-directed a fully interactive theatrical show called Deep Into Darkness where the audience enters the brain of the 19th century American poet who was best known for transforming the horror genre with his tales including The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven and The Masque of the Red Death.
The story follows Poe’s descent in to his own tortured mind during “a fever dream” in the final few hours of his life, as he desperately searches for his love, Lenore.
To this day, Miller said, people still speculate on what caused Poe’s demise from rabies to alcoholism to tuberculosis.
The idea for Deep Into Darkness had been stirring in Miller’s mind for some time.
Miller and fellow producer/director Sydney Doberstein have been working on the project for two years following a show they saw in New York called Sleep No More, that served as inspiration for the production.
This is not a regular sit down theatrical event.
Once the audience enters the theatre they are going to be entered into the mind of Edgar Allan Poe.
“What we’re doing with the show is showing how we believe he died,” said Miller.
Actors will be giving each audience member a mask that they get to wear for the duration of the show and then audience members will be dropped off at different locations in the building.
Then the audience will get to run around, have fun, play at their own free will and follow their impulses.
They can follow actors throughout the building or play with the set pieces and the set design.
“If you wanted to you could just follow one actor the entire show. Or you can hang out in empty rooms, if you want and dig through the drawers and learn about Edgar Allan Poe and his horrible demise at the end of his life,” said Miller.
There will be more than 20 spaces and three floors to explore.
Seventeen different characters will bring the set to life. They each have scripts, however the show is mostly movement based.
“With dance and physical choreography in the story telling as opposed to actual scripted dialogue,” said Miller.
The most interesting thing about his play, said Miller, is you are not following a linear sequence.
“So, everyone is going to see a different show every night,” she continued, adding that audience members will find different clues along the way and develop their own version of what the story is.
At the end the audience will be brought together for a final moment.
Miller hopes that this project will be a big coming out project for the artistic team that worked on the show and she hopes to bring other immersive interactive shows to Vancouver in the future.
Third Wheel Productions presents Deep Into Darkness at The Cultch, 1895 Venables St. in Vancouver.
The show runs from Aug. 13 to 25. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m.