Drexel University Symposium on Poe ballet

Hi All

Today was our Tech and Dress rehearsal at The Mandell Theatre at Drexel University, a long day to be sure.

In between, during our dinner break at the theatre I participated in a wonderful “Dean’s Dinner” hosted by Drexel University Professor, Ludo C. P. Scheffer Ph D. It was nice to step away from the pressures of putting a ballet on to the stage and move into a more relaxed discussion atmosphere. I had to leave before the symposium ended but I’m anxious to hear the outcome of the discussions.See more below.Please join us this Friday (8:00pm) and Saturday (2:00 & 7:00pm) at the Mandell Theater at Drexel University



The Discussion took my premise for my ballet, The Myth and Madness of Edgar Allen Poe.

And moved that discussion forward with the topic of…“How and Why are Art and Madness Linked?”

The wonderful faculty panel from Drexel for this and what they presented were.


Doreen Saar,

… will the explore the nature of Poe’s contributions to the establishment of different genres and talk about the “myth” of his genius.  She will specifically talk about why some form of madness is considered a part of being a literary genius?  Is this intended to be an explanation of the complex phenomena of greatness?


Fred Siegel

… will specifically explore how Poe has been adapted over time, segueing into a discussion of his own experience in Brat Productions’ “Haunted Poe.”  This was a Poe-themed performance environment that people walked through.  Various “rooms” were about various Poe stories, including a Tell-tale Heart room, a Black Cat room, and a room devoted to operatic performances by deceased Poe women (such as Annabel Lee).   I will tell about my experience of maintaining the equipment for Prince Prospero’s visual disintegration, and of my own dying 22 times a night in the Masque of the Red Death room.  We will discuss the complexities and techniques of scaring people in a live context. Specifically, he will examine the ‘scariness’ of some of Poe’s work and whether students agree with that.


Kirk Heilbrun,

… will examine the link between creativity and psychopathology?  Addressing the issue of madness from a psychological perspective he helps us understand what madness means and whether this is helpful terminology to understand Poe.

These three presentations then form the foundation for students to discuss the relationship between art and madness




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