Poe in Octo Review - Trek or Treat? Both!

Talk about thinking outside the box! Lake Forest’s Citadel Theatre acts outside the theater.  No building. No curtain.  Nada. But not without drama, wit, creative energy, a generous helping of dark humor and a perfectly timed sunset to close the show.


In Poe in Octo, The Last Night of Edgar Allan Poea group of dramatic short works based on the writing of Edgar Allan Poe, are presented by Citadel Theatre (Scott Phelps, Artistic Director) and Lake Forest Open Lands, as their third collaborative theatre trek.  What a fantastic, OK, phantasmagorical way to reframe Poe’s familiar stories just in time for Halloween and the most wonderful autumn weather ever! A walk in the woods, heh, heh, heh. And what we found saw and heard in those woods!

Heather Meyers directs a professional (but totally insane) cast, including Andrew J. Pond, Michael Woods, Max Rubin, Mark Adamczyk, Rosa Nevin, Amy Ticho, Jessica Lauren Fisher, and Jane McCarthy.


Killian Skaronea is stage manager. Mark Adamczyk found? created? perfect but simple and unobtrusive music. Like the music, the costumes were just right not only for the stories but for running through the woods while being chased by a fiend. Kudos to Dee Korby costume designer, and Sandra Haggard assistant costume designer. Every actor looked their creepy part.


Heather Meyers and MEH Lewis, the playwright who adapted the material for the outdoor “stage” had a brilliant idea and knew just what to do to keep it cooking. The nightmares just emerge from the forest before your eyes…

Get a map or fire up your GPS.  Do whatever it takes to find yourself inside their setting, the Lake Forest Open Lands’ Mellody Farm Nature Preserve, 350 N. Waukegan Road (at Deerpath), Lake Forest.  Performances are Thursday through Saturday, October 20-22 and October 27-29, starting promptly at 4:30 pm.  

The cider and seasonal treats are a warm and welcoming prelude to the theatrical tricks. But don’t get smug. No matter how well you think you know the scary, macabre, sadistic Poe, seeing each tale come alive at the outdoor “performance stations” will introduce you to new depths, insights and interpretations. It has even changed the way I look at my cat. You’ll understand why if you go.  If you don’t? Well, it’s probably safe.


Theatergoers should dress warmly, wear comfortable outdoor walking shoes, bring a blanket or portable chairs to sit on, a flashlight to guide their way through the woods at twilight, and should be prepared to enjoy themselves thoroughly. 


Tickets, $10 for members of Lake Forest Open Lands and $15 for non-members, are available at www.citadeltheatre.org or by calling 847-735-8554. The Mellody Farm parking lot is located off Longmeadow Lane in Lake Forest (first left off Deerpath, westbound from Waukegan).  (If the weather appears doubtful, ticket-holders should call the box office to see if the venue has been changed to Citadel Theatre, just down the road at West Campus,300 S. Waukegan Road,Lake Forest.) 

Because of the content, this production may not be suitable for children under 10.   

Citadel Theatre’s retelling of Poe’s stories as they were entwined in his life is part of a popular outdoors series that has previously presented The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Johnny Appleseed, and is looking forward to a summer 2012 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as part of a new Shakespeare initiative.



SHOW:  Poe in Octo, The Last Night of Edgar Allan Poe

DATES and TIME:  October 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, 4:30 pm to 6 pm

LOCATION:  Lake Forest Open Lands Association’s Mellody Farm Preserve

350 N. Waukegan Road,Lake Forest,IL 60045(Free parking)

COST:  $10 per ticket for members of Lake Forest Open Lands, $15 for non-members

Open Lands members who purchase tickets on-line will receive a $5 refund at the door.

TO PURCHASE:  www.citadeltheatre.org847.735.8554


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