Beat Magazine, Oct 2000

From Beat Magazine (Melbourne), Issue 728, 18-Oct-2000


Chapel Off Chapel

A haunting examination of a mental patient who believes himself to be the master of horror and short story, Edgar Allan Poe, this play succeeds in paying homage to the writer as well as presenting its own take on the human condition. This one-man performance takes place inside the mind of the patient as he defines his spiritual connection to Poe and also struggles to understand why he is considered abnormal. As he explains his past and way of thinking, the audience is drawn in to empathizing with his perspective, however as it develops the audience is revealed to be merely imagined voices in the patient's head, thus becoming as absent as the patient's sanity.

David Hayward does a magnificent job as the mental patient. His diction and presentation of multiple characters is truly impressive. As the dark comedy of the patient's past memories unfold, Hayward attains a powerful intimacy with the audience through his direct address and powerful recitations of some of Poe's best works: The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart. The set, although simplistic, is highly aesthetic, emphasizing the good use of lighting and shadows which work well to reinforce the eerie, melancholy, and humorous moods of the play. Although parts of the first act drag, I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe is, all in all, a strong script with a superb execution.