‘Nightfall’ with Edgar Allen Poe to show

Jessica Parsons

What does one’s reflection do when looking away from the mirror? A cast of five will explore this new perspective, as they will show four familiar stories
under a new light in a room they call their second home. This is “Nightfall with Edgar Allan Poe.”

At 7:30 p.m. on March 14, 15 and 16, the Student Performing Arts Association (SPAA) will show “Nightfall with Edgar Allan Poe” in the James A. Panowski Black Box Theater. The play features a combination of four of Poe’s most-famous writings: “The Raven,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Explained in his director’s note, Nathan Morgan was inspired by the idea of looking into a mirror and seeing one’s reflection as someone else’s. This is the idea that he wishes will shape and form the construction of the play. Sharing his thought process, his note reads, “The performance exists as a mirror to share with you a glimpse into the reflection of our efforts.”

Currently pursuing a graduate degree at NMU, Morgan has developed a passion for the arts by playing in notable roles at the Forest Roberts Theatre (FRT), such as playing Angelo in “A Comedy of Errors,” Fakir in “The Secret Garden” and many others. So what about those that aren’t English majors or don’t have a passion for poetry or literature?

“The great thing about taking Poe’s work and dramatizing it is that it becomes accessible to people who aren’t into hard literature,” Morgan said. “We can take this literature and make it something that is enjoyable to everyone.”

Because Poe is a well-known author, his eerie short stories and tales provide entertainment to a student whom perhaps studies outside of literature and English, senior English major Lilith Kontos said.

“What Nathan has done is connect these short stories together in a way that uses characters differently than how they may appear originally,” Kontos said. “Sometimes the ghost of somebody will walk by or the Raven appears in more scenes than how it is in ‘The Raven’ and that adds a whole new level.”

Additionally, from the director’s note, cast and crew sweat well into the night, hanging up lights or finishing a paint project. They hunt for hours to find the perfect sound effect to add to the play’s eerie-ness and meet up after class to rehearse “again, and again, and again and again.”

“The biggest takeaway I have is that with any amount of driver passion, pretty much anything can happen at Northern,” freshman Theater Entertainment Arts major Sophie Sam said.

For this tight-knit crew, funding from the Student Finance Committee is one thing, but it doesn’t provide getting out of the extensive work that goes into making a production like this possible. It’s all done by students, for students, Morgan said.

“This production was done entirely by students, from conceiving the project, buying the rights, getting money from the Student Finance Committee, all of the painting and building, the lighting that’s hung, costumes, and sound,” Morgan said. “We are a group of students that will give you the same quality play that you can go see from any faculty directed production.”