Four stories from Edgar Allan Poe are told in the form of a staged radio drama, complete with cues for sound effects and music. The prisoners of Leverett Street Jail, Death Warrant Division, await their fates as three of the doomed souls tell their stories, and we enter the mind of a fourth. The Caretaker insists that, although she has murdered the old man she was caring for, chopped him up and buried him under the floor, she is not mad. In fact, she says, she loved the old man. We segue into the night the deed was done and witness the murder and the concealment of the old man's body. It is his unnerving, staring eye she seeks to murder, but it is his Tell Tale Heart that eventually leads to the discovery of her crime. Montresor tells of luring Fortunato away from carnival and into the wine cellar with the promise of sampling from a Cask of Amontillado. He proffers the notion that by walling Fortunato up to die, he has done a service to humanity, thereby amputating "a diseased portion from the body human." In the third tale, we enter the mind of the catatonic Poet, who has witnessed the death of his lover or has, perhaps, been responsible for it. After the memorial service, the Poet is visited by guilt … and The Raven. Finally, Bedloe, who has buried an axe in his wife's skull and hidden her in the cellar, is brought to justice by The Black Cat. Twisted Tales of Poe is a staged radio drama with the actors reading from scripts at three floor microphones downstage while all sound effects and music are performed live. Originally produced by public television station KTWU in Kansas, Twisted Tales of Poe has aired throughout North America.
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Some of the advantages to producing radio plays:
One Simple Set—A radio station—made up mostly of drapes, a control booth (if desired), mikes, and sound effects equipment.
Less Wardrobe—no changes of wardrobe are necessary.
Less Staging—actors simply stand at mikes most of the time.
Less Rehearsal—actors don't memorize lines—they just read them.
Fewer Cast Members—one actor plays many parts.
No Props—only scripts.