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Nation's Longest Running Poe Festival Celebrates Its 22nd Season in Historic Victorian Mansion


Throughout the history of American literature, no author has stimulated the dark recesses of the imagination as Edgar Allan Poe. Fueled by an eerie sense of the supernatural, the Master of the Macabre penned a haunting collection of 19th century classics acclaimed by the literary world for more than 150 years.


While Poe's poetry is often considered as exquisite as Shakespeare's, there are few theatres in America performing Poe's works for the live stage. Thus, the ongoing Poe festival known as "Edgar Allan Poe Evermore" about to celebrate its 22nd consecutive season in the Victorian Mansion at Mount Hope Estate and Winery proves unique in many ways.


The hauntingly beautiful 207-year-old Mount Hope Mansion, with its sandstone façade and candlelit rooms, has become the ideal backdrop for performance pieces faithful to Poe's original texts. This November, when the doors to "Edgar Allan Poe Evermore" swing open, visitors will discover the Mansion transformed into the dilapidated House of Usher creating an unmistakable atmosphere of Gothic drama. Edgar Allan himself, along with bizarre characters from his tales of mystery and mayhem portrayed by members of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire Actor's Conservatory, fill the Mansion hallways biding welcome to an evening of spine tingling tales.


The evening begins with a sampling of Mount Hope's special hot mulled wine to help remove the bite from the cool autumn air. The assembled guests, after having been introduced to Edgar Allan and friends, are sent about the Mansion whose rooms have become intimate theaters.


In addition to "The Fall of the House of Usher," a timeless tale of terror so great it drives the mind to madness and destruction, Poe Evermore 2007 will also feature the telling of the "Pit and Pendulum." Poe's penetrating words make it almost impossible not to become one with the poor soul struggling to survive in a deep pit in the pitch dark dungeons of the Spanish Inquisition only to find himself strapped to a slab in a rat-infested cavern, facing a razor-sharp pendulum as it slowly lowers, swinging ever closer to his heart.


In "The Cask of Amontillado," the misfortunes of Fortunato become indelibly impressed upon the psyche when his one-time friend, the enigmatic Montressor, demonstrates through a diabolical narration that revenge can be even more luscious than a fine, aged sherry.


No dramatic presentation of Poe's works would be complete without a rendition of "The Raven," his enduring poem of a love lost, a living death, and a persistent, unwelcome tap-tap-tapping visitor. Interspersed throughout the evening are more tales of woe, unrequited love and other recitations designed to elevate the consciousness of the soul and the spirit.


Poe Evermore opens Friday, November 2, and runs through Wednesday, November 14. Friday shows are at 6 and 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday shows at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. Limited weekday shows are set for 7 p.m. Ticket prices are $19.95 weekends and $17.95 midweek.


Reservations for the limited seating Mansion performances can be made by calling the Box Office at (717) 665-7021, ext. 231, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., or by visiting the Virtual Box Office at Weekend dining reservations at the adjoining Swashbuckler Brew Pub & Eaterie can also be made by calling the Box Office during normal business hours.


Mount Hope Estate & Winery, placed on the National Register of Historical Places by the United States Government, is located on Route 72, ½ mile south of PA Turnpike exit 266, 15 miles north of Lancaster and 14 miles east of Hershey. The Estate also places host to the widely acclaimed summer and early fall festival performances of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.


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