On October third, 1849, Edgar Allen Poe was found delirious on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland. He drew his last breath on October 7th, and since then, the death of this writer of literary classics has been shrouded in mystery. David Crawford, in
His rendition of The Raven was both fascinating and horrifying, as we saw Poe slip deeper and deeper into his own imagination, lost to reality
This piece balances the private and personal life of Poe with renditions of his most famous works, a successful venture. We hear about Poe’s childhood tragedies, love gained and lost, and see him clutching at a bottle of whiskey for dear life. He frantically wracks his brains to come up with the names of people who could have wanted to hurt him. Despite this, Crawford’s tone stays extremely constant, which makes it difficult to focus on what he is saying, and the lack of inflection melds different parts of the story together when they should be kept separate.
The best part of this performance was seeing Crawford effortlessly slip into the poetry of Poe, a point where the lack of inflection in his voice works excellently. In mixing Poe’s life with stories we know and love, such as The Cask of Amontillado and Alone, these fictional works and given much more depth. His rendition of The Raven was both fascinating and horrifying, as we saw Poe slip deeper and deeper into his own imagination, lost to reality.
Poe’s Last Night was, all in all, a fitting tribute to one of the great American writers. Despite a number of drawbacks, Crawford’s performance is emotional and raw, and to put more power behind the non-fictional sections of the performance would pack even more of a punch.