Edgar Allan Poe is a deceptively attractive figure for theatre makers. We've all read with a delicious shiver his best-known short stories. His themes of death, madness and mystery are so very elemental that they have never gone out of style. The elaborate early 19th century style of his poetry may be a challenge, but the simple sardonics of his short stories, often in first person, appeal to our desire for intensity.
As long as you're doing your own adaptation or interpretation, you don't have any royalties to pay, either, since the dissolute Mr. Poe collapsed on the streets of Baltimore in 1849 and died shortly thereafter.
The newly established Last Act Theatre Company has a genesis typical of ambitious young theatre groups in Austin. Five of the six members of the board are theatre graduates of Texas A&M Corpus Christi. They got started in Austin last October with Theatre de Grand Guignol at the Hideout Theatre and they have announced three more works for 2011-2012: a modern adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus and original scripts by Gary Jaffe and by Bretton B. Holmes.