Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stuart Gordon Directs 'Nevermore'

Prior to Xmas, I was kindly invited by the actress Renae Boult to attend a performance of Dennis Paoli's Nevermore, "An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe". Directed by Stuart Gordon, who was in attendance, and starring Jeffrey Combs, I found it quite mesmerizing.


As you can see in this beautiful portrait of Poe by talented and underrated photographer Ward Boult, Combs' resemblance to Poe is quite uncanny.

The actor's reading of The Tell-Tale Heart and The Raven were especially striking in light of the fact that they have been done to death over the years. Combs brings a startling authority to these pieces that made them sound as if he were composing them out loud for the first time.

Ward Bolt's striking portrait of Poe (Jeffrey Combs)

I have seen Poe performed before, but never with such disarming physicality and humor. Yes, there is some self-deprecating humor sprinkled throughout the initial stages of the play, and this negates the usual stodginess often associated with the character.

Writer Paoli wrote Gordon's ep of Masters of Horror, 'The Black Cat', as well as Re-animator, Dagon, Castle Freak, and Abel Ferrara's excellent version of Body Snatchers.

Watching Combs, you are watching Poe, and Gordon stages everything with unbridled clarity and feeling.

The evening, rubbed thoroughly in alcohol, progresses through readings of stories and poems, and gets especially intimate when Poe discusses the loss of his late wife.

I'm sure the great writer would have approved of this wonderful exhumation.

After the show, I spoke briefly to the genuine Mr. Gordon, and complimented him on Poe and and his recent forays into genre cinema. I also asked him if he'd considered turning Nevermore into a film. He said it's something that's of interest to him.

Unlike so many horror directors we have long admired, Gordon has not succumbed to blandness and rehashes of old successes.

On the contrary, his last three movies have been works of extraordinary originality and energy.



I have so much respect for Stuart Gordon, and it's clear he has much respect for good work.

He's a true Apostle of Pulp.





4 comments:

  1. Great blog post. I agree that Nevermore was a brilliant show that I caught here in L.A. as well. Mr. Gordon is such a gracious guy, it's a pleasure to talk with him. Glad you had the opportunity yourself. :)

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  2. Anonymous -- excellent that you saw it, too (whoever you may be). Yes, Gordon is a very gracious guy, and I can only wish him a long life, good health, and god luck getting up other projects (God knows how difficult it is right now!)

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  3. Yeah that suite of movies is really good stuff. It's a pity people don't appreciate great directors actually making great movies and not just rehashing the same old splatter and gore over and over. Gordon has the skills, and want's to do something different, what's the problem - Re-Aminator is so '85! :)

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  4. He is one of my favorite directors...I have all his films (that are available) but i still dont have his version of The Pit and the Pendulum...sadly. Those Full Moon guys have not released it on DVD..

    This sounds like an excellent show to go to...I wish I could see it. And getting to meet Gordon in person, how cool that must have been! He seems like such a nice guy.

    Its good to see him doing theater again, he started in theater before he did Re-Animator.

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