The CLC Theatre Company’s first virtual show: “Twisted Tales of Poe.”

Stephen Kelley

The College of Lake County Theatre Department finished up with “Twisted Tales of Poe,” its first virtual visual show for the semester. 

The free-to-attend Zoom show included four of Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous short stories adapted and brought to life as visual radio dramas. Poe’s greatest hits, “The Telltale Heart,” “The Casque of Amontillado,” “The Raven,” and “The Black Cat” were portrayed terrifically from the show’s debut on Nov. 13th.

But rather than share the stage in person, the cast and crew operated in front of green screens at home to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.

Starting with open, online auditions, the theatre department fully involved every player in the show. 

Cast and crew members added to the action by providing unique foley artistry and sound effects in other stories. 

Via the CLC Theatre Department Facebook page

Via the CLC Theatre Department Facebook page

Despite the online constraints, efforts like these enhanced the show tremendously, allowing the online play to stand up to in-person productions of previous years in production quality.

There were, however, several challenges the team faced while adapting the show for the internet.

During the post-performance Q&A, multiple cast members commented that a continual challenge came in the form of audio latency. 

“So when someone’s internet cut out, I just delivered my lines a little differently to accommodate that, and I did my best to keep the energy up until connections came back,” commented Helen Murphy, who starred as Mary Bedloe in “The Black Cat” and Helen in “The Raven.”

But connection issues and audio delay proved no match for the CLC theatre department, who rose to the challenge with energy and determination.

Via the CLC Theatre Department Facebook page

Via the CLC Theatre Department Facebook page

The “Twisted Tales of Poe” performance did end up coming to life, with deliveries that dominated the virtual stage.

The theatre department additionally revealed the name of their next online show, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” which will take place in the coming spring semester at CLC.

Twisted Tales director and CLC theatre chair Craig Rich concluded the penultimate show by encouraging anyone interested in theatre to audition online next semester and emphasized that new faces are always welcome.

For those interested in learning more about the College of Lake County’s theatre department, future shows, and ways to get involved, check out their website here.