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Introducing Mr. Poe

Created date

February 27th, 2009

"The critic should have the boldness to praise an enemy, and the even more unusual courage to damn a friend . It is only the book that we subject to review."

The words roll off of David Keltz s tongue in refined, melodic fashion as he recites Edgar Allan Poe s forward-thinking position on literary criticism. The small segment is just a smattering of the more than five hours of Poe material that the actor has committed to memory.

Bringing Poe alive on stage

Since his first performance of the one-man show in 1991, Keltz has honed his act to an eerily lifelike extent, even indulging in a splash of Poe s cologne, Caswell-Massey No. 6, before going on stage.

"My performance is all about giving the audience the distinct impression that they actually saw Edgar Allan Poe," Keltz says. "Even though they probably can t smell it, the cologne really helps put me in Poe s mind, which I think enhances the experience for myself and the audience."

In Keltz s view, Poe and his work are the perfect subjects of a one-man show. Poe wrote many of his stories in the first-person, allowing Keltz to easily slip into the central role of the narrator.

To look at Keltz in full dress and makeup is to witness the mustachioed author in living color. His posture and expressions, even the folds in his skin, seem to be precisely as they were on the man himself.

Using bits of the writer s essays, personal correspondence, and reported conversations, Keltz also includes in his performance glimpses of the inspiration behind Poe s works.

"I ll get an idea of where something is going and then take a line from a letter that he wrote in 1840 and another from 1849, and put them all together to create a very conversational presentation that speaks to the audience," he says. "The way I ve always set it up is to make it as though Poe had been invited to speak to that audience, which he actually did when he was alive."

And watching Keltz at work, you d think he still is.

For more information on where David Keltz will be performing throughout Nevermore 2009, you can visit his website at