'Nevermore' play coming to Valleytown Cultural Arts
Take a dark ride through the tragic life of one of the most iconic American writers during the Community Youth Players/ACT production of Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe.
The play premieres at 7 p.m. Friday at the Valleytown Cultural Arts Center in downtown Andrews. It will show again at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.
Directed by Lori Coffey and co-directed by Kemberly Kempf, the musical incorporates Poe’s short stories and poems, while following a majority of the true events that took place in his life. Letting the audience decide for themselves what’s fact and fiction, the play weaves imaginary elements into the plot.
Blake Williams, who is no stranger to community theatre, will play the role of Poe. Preparing months before the auditions, Williams said he was compelled to dive into the depressing head-space of the famous author and poet.
“There’s not really much to enjoy about being Edgar Allan Poe, honestly,” he said. “He tries to be joyful (in the play), but everything in life that happens to him just wears away at his hope.”
Throughout the play, Williams said his character travels deep into his memories of his childhood. The other actors in the play help guide Poe through his memories, unveiling the grievous aspects that shaped his literary inspiration.
Kencade Watkins, who plays Poe’s brother Henry, counteracts the main character’s dreary outlook with optimism. Watkins said while he had an easy time taking on the positivity of his character, the challenge of the role lied with the singing.
“I’m looking forward to a lot of the singing,” he said. “ ‘My Name is Henry’ is my favorite song. In The Addams Family I didn’t have to sing much, but this has taken it to a whole new level.”
Reflecting the theme of the play, not an ounce of vibrant colors were used in the set design and costumes. The costumes incorporate elements of Victorian fashion, displaying shades of grey, black, white and brown.
Philip Dekle, who plays Poe’s father, said he enjoyed being able to work with Young Harris (Ga.) College musical theatre veterans Cameron and Carli LeJeune. The couple assisted with the musical aspect of the play, teaching various voice exercises and techniques.
“It’s always fun working with everybody and seeing what everyone brings to the play themselves,” Dekle said. “No matter who you are, you can learn from everybody.”
For those that can’t make it to the musical this week, it will show again next week at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12; 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14. Tickets are $12 for adults, $7 for students. To reserve tickets, call 360-4108. The doors will open 30 minutes before showtime.