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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

October 17, 2012

Meet New York Guest Equity Actor Andrew Gorell

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 12:52 pm


Q: Where are you from? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for theatre and the arts?

A: I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I think the biggest thing to prepare me for a life in the theatre is that I spent most of my free time as a kid imagining and creating stories in my head. I always felt very comfortable living in the imaginary.

Q: Where did you study theatre?

A: I did my undergrad at the University of Minnesota where I was in a theatre department with hundreds of students. I made a lot of friends and did a ton of shows. My graduate degree is from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, where my class numbered seven. A much more intense, concentrated experience.

Q: Where have you worked previously? What are some of your favorite roles?

A: I’ve been lucky to work with a lot of great companies. Some of them are the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Glimmerglass Opera, the Cleveland Play House, the American Shakespeare Center and the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theater. I loved playing Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream; Betty and Gerry in Cloud 9; evil Richard in Richard III … and I’m looking forward to new favorite roles!

Q: How did you prepare for playing the role of Edgar Allan Poe? Are there any challenges you faced or anything you’re most excited about portraying Poe?

A: I re-read as much of Poe’s writing as I could. Portraying a writer is a windfall for an actor because I could glean so many insights from themes and stylistic choices that repeat from story to story. For instance, many of Poe’s characters have a weakness for alcohol … but almost all of them realize that this trait is destructive. It told me that he was aware of the destructive aspects of his own drinking. There are also reports by contemporaries of Poe about everything from how he stood to what his voice sounded like. And, finally, I grew my mustache, which was probably the most important leg of my journey to becoming Poe. Seriously, the challenge with portraying a historical person is that there will be Poe enthusiasts who have done more research that I have done who will quibble with my choices. I can’t satisfy everybody and my main goal is to make this Poe’s final journey understandable to our audience here in Charleston. I’m really very excited to speak some of Poe’s masterful words out loud in a building that was standing at the same time that he might have wandered the streets of Charleston.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?

A: I play my ukulele, I practice yoga, I cook (I love grits and I’m getting better at preparing them!) and I try to explore this “mystical kingdom by the sea,” Charleston. As a Wisconsin boy, I have to admit that I miss the leaves changing color but I don’t miss the temperatures in the 30s (as they are today in Milwaukee).


Featured center: New York Guest Equity Actor Andrew Gorell as Edgar Allan Poe.


From left to right: Charleston Stage Resident Actor Lauren Monteleone as Annabel Lee and New York Guest Equity Actor Andrew Gorell as Edgar Allan Poe.





October 12, 2012

Notes From the Playwright of Nevermore

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 10:19 am


Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director


While Edgar Allan Poe is probably best known for his wild and fantastical tales, it was one of Poe’s poems that first caught my attention.  I still remember daydreaming in my high school English class, bored by my teacher and thumbing through the anthology that was our textbook, when my eyes fell upon Poe’s poem,  The Bells.  With it’s alliteration and pounding repetitions (at times Poe repeats the word “bells” seven times in a row ), I was hooked.  I loved his use of unusual words like the ringing “tintinnabulation”.  My English teacher would have called this onomatopoeia.  I called it cool.  Soon I was reading Poe’s other poems on my own,  A Dream Within A Dream, Annabel Lee, and I purchased my own complete works (I still have it) and plowed through the stories, Tell Tale HeartThe Oblong Box, The Red Death, The Pit and the Pendulum and more.  I found that Poe was a favorite of mine and of many of my classmates as well, kind of the old school Stephen King.

So in 1994, when I began looking for a new Halloween play, I was quite familiar with Poe’s tales of the macabre.  And since moving to Charleston, I’d learned Poe lived on Sullivans Island for a time when, as a young soldier, he was stationed at Ft. Moultrie.  I thought this might make the making of a great play and headed to the library for a Poe biography.  I quickly learned, however, that we know little of Poe’s stay on Sullivans, certainly not enough for a full play.  As I read on, however,  I was intrigued by the circumstances of Poe’s mysterious death, and the spark that would become Nevermore was ignited.  I dashed off the first few scenes and cocky and confidently announced the premiere of Nevermore for the fall of 1996 (this was midsummer.)  And then I ran into a wall — writer’s block.  Nothing would come, and I thought I would have to cancel the production.  In despair I thought I’d write a scene about writer’s block itself, and not to give away the plot, that scene provided a path for the plot and Poe’s descent into the darkness, and my way out of my writer’s block maelstrom.

My first cast got new pages right up until the last minute, but they rallied and embraced the show and Nevermore premiered to great acclaim in 1996.  A few years later it was published and has been produced around the country.  In subsequent productions here at the Dock Street Theatre the script has grown stronger, and indeed the terrific cast in this new production, have added numerous new insights of their own, and once again inspired the playwright to tweak the script.  While not a major rewrite, this version of Nevermore does have it’s own new twists and turns.






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