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One More "Nevermore" in Oak Brook

By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 12, 2007 3:30PM

20071012_poe.gifDriving or hitching to Oak Brook to hear an Edgar Allen Poe recitation probably isn’t topping your weekend plans. But with “The Madness of Edgar Allen Poe,” the First Folio Shakespeare Festival sweetens the deal. They stage the performance of a few of Poe’s more frightening short stories, and the charming but creepy true account of the author’s courtship and marriage of his teenage cousin Virginia, at the historic Mayslake Peabody Estate.

Poe might have felt at home at Mayslake, a Tudor Revival-style setting which, appropriately, feels lavish and a bit isolated. The production moves through five rooms of the house, signifying the writer’s Fordham, New York, and Baltimore homes, and three European settings for his fiction. The material and the site complement each other nicely, as the chamber rooms, cathedral, and anteroom immerse the audience in the world of a number of characters including a madman, a prisoner, and nervous socialites.

Last year’s Jeff-recommended, critically acclaimed premiere was a favorite of western suburbanites and Chicago commuters. Two of this weekend's shows are already sold out, and the rest are filling up quickly.

"The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe" is at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, 717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook, Wednesdays – Sundays through October 28. Tickets are $21-$26. More information at the First Folio website.