KEYSER - From the moment Stephen Settimi steps out from behind the curtain on the dark stage at the Indie, he takes on the guise of one of America's most popular and mysterious authors.
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - From the moment Stephen Settimi steps out from behind the curtain on the dark stage at the Indie, he takes on the guise of one of America’s most popular and mysterious authors.
He addresses the audience as Poe, reading from the author’s “Theory of Composition,” as Poe did himself during one of his speaking engagements. The piece explains Poe’s theory on the process of writing in general and, specifically, the process that went into creating his much-loved and often-quoted poem, “The Raven.”
Then, the curtain parts, and we find ourselves in the eerily-lit chamber where Poe wrote about his late-night encounter with the prophetic raven.
Settimi’s dramatic presentation of the poem immediately draws you in to the little scene, fills you with expectation as you await the appearance of the raven, and keeps you enthralled right down to the very last stanza.
Most high school students, or college lit majors, have listened to a recitation of “The Raven” at some point in their education.
Believe me, Settimi’s presentation is no dry recitation. It is drama at its most fascinating.
At the conclusion of the poem, Settimi steps out of character and speaks about Edgar Allan Poe - the man, the author, and the legend.
He shares stories about Poe’s life, his childhood, marriage and career, and interweaves the tales with facts about life in the early 1800s.
When Settimi had finished his rehearsal the other night, which I had the privilege of watching, I commented to him that I wished he had taught some of the literature classes I took as an English and journalism major.
He not only brings the author to life right in front of you, but he puts Poe’s life and times in perspective and helps you to see a much bigger picture than a dry study of dates and titles.
If you ever liked any of Poe’s works, or would like to learn more about the man considered the father of detective fiction and one of the earliest writers of short stories, you will enjoy Settimi’s performance of “Poe,” set for Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Indie on Main.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for students, and will be available at the door, but seating is limited!