The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

Campus Mass Thursday as Le Moyne Mourns Loss “That Breaks Our Hearts” – Deaths of Two Law Enforcement Officers With Close Ties to College
Campus Mass Thursday as Le Moyne Mourns Loss “That Breaks Our Hearts” – Deaths of Two Law Enforcement Officers With Close Ties to College
CMM-374 Class, Guest Writers • April 17, 2024

A Mass will be said at noon Thursday at the Panasci Family Chapel - and the flags on the Grewen quad will fly at half-staff until next week -...

Your Dolphy Day Guide: Tips and Strategies for Getting the Most Out of the Day!
Maria Randazzo, Director of the Wellness Center for Health and Counseling • April 16, 2024

All but freshman have experienced Dolphy Day so you know what to expect. Did you do it right last year, meaning you had a wonderful time with...

NASA Astronaut Jeanette Epps in action
From Syracuse to the Stars: Old Friend Marvels at Success of Astronaut Jeanette Epps
Kamilla Shahzad, Staff Writer • April 15, 2024

Jeanette Epps stands at the forefront of space exploration, embodying resilience, and intellect while breaking barriers and redefining boundaries....

Shot Clock, Precious Artifact of NBA History, at Le Moyne – But Out of View
Shot Clock, Precious Artifact of NBA History, at Le Moyne – But Out of View
Stephen Riale, Guest Writer • April 15, 2024

Tucked away in an unsuspecting corner of Le Moyne’s Noreen Reale Falcone library is a treasure trove of basketball history. The Syracuse...

Long-Unused Courtyard to Finally Reopen as a Community Space
Long-Unused Courtyard to Finally Reopen as a Community Space
Annie Hubert, Guest Writer • April 13, 2024

Riddled with cracked cement and overgrown weeds, the courtyard that lies between Grewen and Reilly halls has been left untouched by the Le Moyne...

Edgar in the Red Room: The Making of a Macabre Musical

Edgar in the Red Room: The Making of a Macabre Musical

With Halloween fast approaching and the air growing crisp, it appears that spooky season is upon us — and with it, a new musical is in the works at the W. Carroll Coyne Performing Arts Center! 

With music from the discography of British punk cabaret band The Tiger Lillies, and chunks of Poe’s short stories and poems integrated throughout, Edgar in the Red Room is a macabre musical centering around the life, death, and works of famed American author and poet Edgar Allan Poe, written by Le Moyne’s Director of Theatre Matt Chiorini. 

But how did such an outlandish show come into existence?

Chorini explained that he had always been interested in writing a play using Poe’s short story Fall of the House of Usher, but never quite knew how to go about it. Chiorini described the imagination of Poe as being a “fertile world,” and embracing this idea, he began frankensteining a script based on Usher and some of Poe’s other famous works, the connecting thread throughout being their tonal and thematic similarities. 

Aiming to create a piece in which Poe and his works converged, Edgar in the Red Room explores Poe’s mysterious death as he becomes lost amidst the overlapping stories and their themes, trapped within a nightmare of his own creation. “It’s the story Poe could have written, but didn’t,” Chiorini said. 

The play certainly covers some strange subject matter, as is expected with the writing of Poe, delving deep into the troubled mind of the 19th-century author. What is almost more odd than the grotesque and arabesque contents of the show, is the choice to make it a musical. 

When asked about this decision, Chiorini explained that while Edgar in the Red Room is certainly dark, it is not horror. He described it as macabre, “which is like horror, but with a wink and a smirk.” Musicals bend reality in such a way that it allows the audience to suspend their disbelief, and like the macabre, it means that the show doesn’t take itself too seriously all the time. Chiroini also emphasized his belief that the tone of a musical fit well with Poe’s works, because they often had some layer of wit to them, leaving room for jokes and comedy despite the subject matter.

Any good musical has choreography, of course, and so in collaboration with dance instructor Ruth Arena, students from the dance minor have been cast in the show. The dancers and their choreography add yet another layer to the performance, bringing to life the haunted nature of the setting and allowing for dynamic, visual storytelling to accompany the vivid text of the script.

Creating such an odd show presented many challenges, the main one being figuring out how to layer the different stories throughout, a process that involved a lot of trial and error, and a lot of drafts. Since production began in September, the script has been through multiple iterations. Chiorini shared that seeing that story physically play out prompted changes, that some things work out differently onstage than in one’s head. The rehearsal process has seen many rewrites, some of which have been made by the actors themselves. 

“All the students involved are stepping way out of their comfort zones and doing something extraordinary,” Chiorini said. He described the collaborative process as one that is positive and fruitful and that allows everyone involved the freedom to explore and experiment. This includes both the actors onstage and also those behind the scenes, two of whom are designing for a Boot and Buskin production for the first time: scenic designer Professor Linsday Voorhees and costume designer Kylee Galarneau, who is a senior. 

The cast and crew have been at work for six grueling weeks, learning lines of dense monologue lifted directly from Poe’s works, figuring out how to move the rolling set pieces of a haunted mansion, and transforming themselves into writers, literary characters, and ravens alike. “It really feels like we’re on the verge of creating something extraordinary—” Chiorini said, “unlike anything done at Le Moyne, or in theater!” 

The show opens this Friday and runs for two weekends. Performances are Oct. 27-28th and Nov. 2-4 at 8 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 4th. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at the box office in the PAC or online.

So, but one question remains: will you venture with Mr. Poe into the Red Room, and dare to face your doom?

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