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Who Killed Edgar Allan Poe Main

WHO KILLED EDGAR ALLAN POE? THE COOPING THEORY 1969

Written by Karin Crighton

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Slink down the steps of RPM Underground on 54th Street to find eclectic karaoke rooms filled with Avengers collectibles, vintage Playboy covers, and a secret society for devotees of Edgar Allen Poe. Enjoy cocktail hour mingling with fellow inductees before you are escorted into 1969.

Village of the Damned lookalike twins Cordelia and Crispin will “welcome” and guide you into the party; hosted in Tom’s father’s bar. Chat with Tom and Gina, who founded the society, along with long-time member Jimmy and new-time member Anna. Learn all about why they love Poe, ask about the society, learn about their pasts, and how some believe Poe was murdered by Cooping.

Cooping was an alleged form of electoral fraud in the United States...by which unwilling participants were forced to vote, often several times over, for a particular candidate in an election. - Wikipedia

Who Killed Edgar Allan Poe 02But who can say? Perhaps it was the grief of losing his cousin-wife Virginia. Perhaps it was his predilection for excess when he drank. Who can say? Who can say, but Poe himself? And could he say...tonight?

Who Killed Edgar Allan Poe? The Cooping Theory 1969 is a theater-nerd, horror-obsessed, armchair-detective’s dream. It’s me; it’s my dream. Being nosy is my national pastime, so following the characters around and asking questions about their past and how they all know each other is my jam. I love weird societies of recluses that only want to talk about one thing and host strange ceremonies to celebrate the weirdness.

That being said, The Cooping Theory 1969 is also highly esoteric. Knowing a few people in my life that hate it when the performer talks to them in the audience, the show nightly requires a special group of viewers who like to get involved. I also noted a few brought-along dates and friends checked out and hopped back to Carlos’ expert pouring at the bar. It was a small number compared to the rest of us nerds who ran around trying to figure outWho Killed Edgar Allan Poe 03 if we were learning clues about Poe’s death.

The performances vary from great to over-the-top wild, yet with a lack of consistency. Some of the actors speak with a solid 1969 lexicon and American Film Standard accent; some speak as though they just walked off the 2019 sidewalk and down the stairs and into costume. All the actors are fully dedicated to the immersive performance, although there is some very dramatic movement that shouts musical theater rather than tortured soul. Quick aside: don’t miss Samantha Lacey Johnson as Gina do a move straight out of your worst zombie nightmare in the second room on the right. I thought there were hidden wires, it was so creepy.

Speaking of music, the sequences that were amplified by ethereal songs and creepy sound effects were unfortunately very loud. It requires the audience to nearly stand on top of the performers to hear what they are saying, which feels rather intrusive as an audience member and maybe claustrophobic for the actors.

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Another aside: the MVP of the night was the guest who refilled her pinot grigio glass five times during a 90-minute span. She’s the hero we need in this macabre world.

I highly recommend joining the Edgar Allan Poe Society; but remember – it’s not for squares. This is a cool-kid-club only. Grab your amateur sleuths, your aspiring actors, and any who loves murder, and head down the stairs to your destiny.

Head over to the official site for tickets. But be quick! This is a limited engagment that only runs through November 2nd, 2019.

About The Author
Karin Crighton 01
Staff Writer | Lunatic
Karin doesn't know anything about movies, but has a lot of time and opinions to yell into the void. When she's not directing plays in and around NYC, she's watching every horror movie on every streaming service. And probably talking to a cat.
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