Poe Knocks on Pierce’s Door

Shelby Cross, Online Reporter

Knock Three Times features and adaptation of three short stories and three poems by Edgar Allen Poe.

Colored glass panes, wooden doorways and a ticking clock captivate the attention of many as the audience shuffles through the door.

The play was performed at 7 p.m. each night Nov. 3-5 in the Black Box Theater in the Arts and Allied Health building at the Pierce College Puyallup campus.

Some would describe the small area of the Black Box Theater made it easy for the audience to clearly see and hear the performance.

The atmosphere in the room can be described as dramatic and easy to hear anyone shuffle throughout the play. The audience avoided frequently moving their heads to try to see around the person sitting in front of them.

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Sam Sloan, directed and adapted the play, while Adjunct Assistant Professor, Nichole Nicholson, designed the set. Being that the show is an adaptation of each short story, Sloan kept the scripts for the performance close to the original works.

On its second and third performance, the play sold out its 100 seats. Admission was $2 for students and $3 for the general public.

The three stories included The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Masque of the Red Death. In between each of the scenes, actors read a poem written by Poe. To add to the play’s dark atmospheres, readers had a colored spotlight shone them. The poems were Annabelle Lee, The City in Sea and A Dream within a Dream. The poems were read by Lindsey Pasquier, Tiana Hill, and Simonne Shires.

In The Raven, there were four actors: Jasper Bailie as Poe, McKenzie Bell as Lenore, Pasquier as The Raven and Kaitlin Christensen as Death.

The Raven is a story Poe wrote in 1845 about an unnamed narrator who lost his love, Lenore. When he was thinking about Lenore in his house he hears a tapping at his window. He dismisses this as a visitor and “nothing more.” But once he discovers that it’s a raven, he attempts to communicate with it. The only word the raven can say is “nevermore,” and throughout their conversation the narrator eventually spirals into madness.

The Raven was set in what seemed to be two bedrooms separated by a hanging door frame. The room to the right held Lenore and Death, while the room to the left had Poe and the raven. Lenore didn’t have a role in the original story Poe wrote, but in this adaption she was a character rather than a topic.

All four of them echoed each other’s words, starting off the play with “Once.”

The Tell Tale Heart was the midway mark of the play. The cast included GeeGee Gambill and Jesselynn Stoddard as narrators, Peggy Bing as death, Andrew Bottcher as the old man; Austin Hollenbeck, Amy Flores, Grace Verkuyl as officers, Bree Pavia as heartbeat and Hill and Jennifer Kastner as puppeteers.

The Tell Tale Heart was narrated by two individuals as opposed to the original story Poe wrote containing one voice.

It was published in 1843, and the plot followed Poe as he visits an old man every night to plan his death because Poe’s disturbed by the man’s vulture-like eyeball. After hours of approaching the old man silently, he kills him. The police pay him a visit because a neighbor heard screams, and Poe convinces the officers that it was only him screaming from a nightmare he had.

Some of the props for this scene include a large, blinking eyeball and a light-up heart. Every time the old man would look at Poe, the eye prop would open its eyelid as wide as the eye itself. Also, when Poe would talk about how he could hear the old man’s heartbeat from across the room, the heart prop would light up and shake.

The last story performed of each night was The Masque of the Red Death.

The Masque of the Red Death stared almost the entire cast. Alex Capilouto was Prince Prospero, Hollenbeck as the corpse, Christensen as death; Pavia, Pasquier, Kastner, Bottcher, Shires, Gambill, Bailie and Bell as members of the court; and Bing, Flores, Verkuyl and Stoddard as Artists.

The Masque of the Red Death, published in 1842 was about a masquerade ball that lasted until midnight when a mysterious stranger wreaks havoc on their party.

One of the main props used in the set were hanging windows. Each color represented a different room of the seven chambers. Including  blue, purple, green, orange, white, violet and red.

It can be said that the colored lighting that shown onto the stage gave the scene a vibrant atmosphere.  

To finish off the play, the cast from The Masque of the Red Death remained on stage while Shires read A Dream within a Dream, concluding with the cast shouting “Is all that I see or seem but a dream within a dream?”

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost

Shelby Cross

Shelby Cross

Former Online Reporter at The Puyallup Post
Shelby Cross

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Poe Knocks on Pierce’s Door

by Shelby Cross time to read: 3 min
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