A horror-like performance inspired by the life and work of Edgar Allan Poe.
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The New StageApproximate running time
1 hour 30 minutes, no intermissionLanguage
In Czech, surtitles in EnglishPremiere
April 28, 2022
Choreographed and directed by Lenka Vagnerová.
Recomended age 14+
Edgar Allan Poe and the characters of his fantastic universe are brought to life in the performance prepared by Laterna magika, combining dance, singing, original music score, instrumental music, vivid stage design and striking costumes, objects, and marionettes.
“He who has never swooned, is not he who finds strange palaces and wildly familiar faces in coals that glow; is not he who beholds floating in mid-air the sad visions that the many may not view; is not he who ponders over the perfume of some novel flower—is not he whose brain grows bewildered with the meaning of some musical cadence which has never before arrested his attention.”
(Edgar Allan Poe: The Pit and the Pendulum)
The performance is inspired by selected short stories – The Pit and the Pendulum, Hop-Frog and The Masque of the Red Death, which form the basic dramaturgic structure and are interconnected with a series of atmospheres and messages as varied as Poe’s work. Edgar Allan Poe and the characters of his fantastic universe are brought to life in the performance prepared by Laterna magika, combining dance, singing, original music score, instrumental music, vivid stage design and striking costumes, objects, and marionettes. The performance is inspired by selected short stories, which form the basic dramaturgic structure and are interconnected with a series of atmospheres and messages as varied as Poe’s work. The creators open the dark corners of his soul while also revealing his brilliant sense of humour and exquisite poetry. Poe was a master of mocking as well as honouring the whole range of human characters, demonising evil and sense of power, poetising purity and beauty, and reflecting the intrinsic attributes in the character’s physiognomy. The eye-catching costumes, lyrical and hyperbolic, are funny and scary at the same time. Endless labyrinths of dark rooms and corners and omnipresent supernatural creatures – fairies, phantoms, demons, beats – accentuate the murky atmosphere. The intangible figures materialise thanks to the Peppper’s Ghost effect, which was known in Poe’s times and was first presented to the public in 1860.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849) is considered the founder of the detective story genre and the source of inspiration for other well-known authors, such as Arthur Conan Doyle and his Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie and her Hercules Poirot, or J. K. Rowling and Alfred Hitchcock. Poe also introduced the quintessential – and often ludicrous – duo of a detective and his assistant.
Poe had the rare talent of revealing the suspected. He had a gift of materialising incredible and fantastic worlds, as well as of finding magical and universal messages in common situations which are still relevant today. His work was strongly influenced by the dark age of England of his times. He wrote about irrationality, violence, madness, fears, poverty, but also the beauty and sense of life. He was charmed by natural sciences and mysticism; he wrote a wonderful essay on the circle of life and death, philosophy, the God … His poetry shows innovative approaches and the search for perfection, which was possible in literature if not in the miserable reality. This was completely true for him. Poe greatly suffered from the lack of his parents’ affection. Loss and fear were common themes of his work, yet he also wrote poetic and symbolic personal confessions as an expression of his sensible soul. Death is an inseparable companion of love and beauty, just like darkness is of light. Poe’s work is full of humour and irony, showing many parallels to our current existence and the humankind as such. His life was no short of his literary universe. Poe, the son of a good actress and a poor actor who was an alcoholic, was born with the sense of drama in his genes. As a little boy, he swam 6 miles against the current in the James River in Richmond, and then swam against the current for the rest of his short life, during which he lost all his close relatives. Despite being one of the best known and appraised authors worldwide, Poe always doubted the meaningfulness of his work. Only four people came to his funeral, and his gravestone had accidentally broken before it was even placed on his grave.
Suitable for audience from 14 years.
Photo and video gallery
Where to buy tickets
The National Theatre sells tickets up to 6 months in advance. On 1 February at 9am we started selling tickets for performances of Drama, Ballet, Opera and Laterna magika until the end of July 2023.
What to wear?
By their appearance, attire and behaviour, the audience is obliged to adhere to the accustomed practice expected from them when attending a theatre performance.
Parking at the National Theater
Buffets on the New Stage
Use Café Nona for refreshments on the New Stage.