Edgar Allan Poe's short story The Fall of the House of Usher of 1839 has been adapted as a figure theatre play aimed at adult audiences by Bühne Cipolla in cooperation with Theater Duisburg and Metropol Ensemble. It is a touring show with live music, which can be presented in theatres as well as in other venues, e. g. schools.
The last remaining scion of a degenerate aristocratic family, Roderick Usher, who has been sick for a long time, has invited his friend from student days to visit him, so as to cheer him up and thus help alleviate his illness. Full of curiosity and uncanny premonitions, the friend arrives at Usher Hall, a dilapidated manor in the middle of nowhere, the home that Roderick shares with several taciturn servants and his ailing twin sister Magdalena. When shortly after the friend's arrival, Lady Magdalena dies, her body is entombed in the basement of the manor rather than buried. That, however is merely the first of a series of strange events to follow. A thunderstorm roars threateningly, as the two friends, tormented by insomnia, try to cheer each other up, singing and painting and making music, in an effort to bring some semblance of life to the gloomy old house.
The American author's thrilling story that provides the basis of this production, shows the characteristics of all of Poe's works: grotesque situations, subtle horror, and a cascading narrative about man's primeval fears and about the struggle of the human spirit against various uncanny impulses, while at the same time poetically exploring the notions of friendship, empathy and love beyond death.
The show was premiered at Theater Duisburg on November 16, 2018.
Figure play, artistic direction, adaptation for the stage: Sebastian Kautz
Cello, keyboards, E-Cello, Wavedrums, musical composition: Gero John
Stage set: Sebastian Kautz
Figures, masks, costumes: Melanie Kuhl
Light design: Frank Barufke, Gero John, Sebastian Kautz
Surtitles are recommended for non-German speaking audiences.