Out There 2015 ends with an eccentric celebration of one of America's great poets and writers, as Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental and Wilhelm Bros. & Co. present Red-Eye to Harve de Grace, an eccentric and vibrant take on the last days of Edgar Allan Poe's life.
How eccentric? Well, it opens with Ranger Steve (Jeremy Wilhelm), running through some facts about Poe's life. Yet the character does more than just introduce the action, he performs all the characters other than Poe, sings, and plays a bit of oboe to boot. (We also learned that Thursday's performance fell on the 170th anniversary of the publication of The Raven. How fitting.)
See also: Out There 2015: Cinestas[jump]
Poe is played by the thin and limber Ean Sheehy. This not only helps the hawk-nosed actor resemble the great poet, it allows him to play a kind of Charlie Chaplin character, eternally tormented by everyday forces as he travels the Northeast on a lecture tour.
Poe's eventual stop is New York City, where he will pick up the mother of his deceased wife and travel with her to his upcoming wedding. All the way, the specter of Virginia, his late wife, both haunts and supports him in his final months. Alessandra L. Larson plays the mostly silent Virginia, who interacts with Poe through movement and dance.
Twin-Cities based composers Jeremy and David Wilhelm have crafted music as vibrant and eccentric as the rest of the piece, freely mixing touches of modern avant-garde music with bits of traditional Americana.
The action, odd from the start, gets more and more confused as Poe's mental and physical state break down. The interlocking use of music, movement, and the poet's own words (both from his famous works and from letters to his beloved mother-in-law) craft a complex look at a very complicated man.
IF YOU GO:
Red-Eye to Harve de Grace 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday Walker Art Center 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis $22-$25 For tickets and more information, call 612-375-7600 or visit online.