Why wait for Halloween for a good ghost story?
"A Weekend with Edgar Allan Poe - an alternative theatre experience" starts tonight on First Friday and continues Saturday night, Oct. 6, in downtown Grand Junction.
Over the course of two nights, the Salt Wash Dance Theater will perform four different tales by the legendary Poe, with "interim vignettes" taking place outside, between the two venues on Friday.
"Raven-ous," based on Poe's "The Raven" will include a poetic reading by John Nizalowski set to "legends, music, and stories of Native American raven mystique." The performance will take place at 8 p.m., and again at 9:10 p.m. at Planet Earth and the 4 Directions Gallery, 524 Colorado Ave.
A block away at Grand Valley Community Theatre, 448 Main St., during the same times, "Usher's Fall" will be performed, allowing theater-goers to attend a performance at one venue, and a different show at the other.
While theater-goers walk from one venue to the other, starting around 8:45 p.m., actors will perform sections from a Poe literary piece outside, near Roasted coffeehouse, at the corner of Fifth Street and Colorado Avenue. The audience will be invited to participate in a game of guessing the titles of the Poe pieces being represented.
Connie Monroe, dancer and artistic director for Salt Wash Dance Theater, first produced an Edgar Allan Poe theater event last year - ironically October 7, the day Poe was found dead in 1849.
"A strange coincidence," said Monroe, who hopes to make "A Weekend of Poe" an annual event.
"I was intrigued with using movement theater and dance with the thematic material of Edgar Allan Poe. I love working with the spoken word."
On Saturday, Oct. 6, "Once upon a Main Street Dreary," - a blend of features from Friday's performances - will be performed at Grand Valley Community Theatre at 7 p.m., followed by "Masque of the Red Death" at 9:30 p.m.
"Masque of the Red Death" is also a costume party, modeled after a new theater form where actors and audience interact, Monroe said.
The cast is comprised of more than 20 performers, mostly from Colorado Mesa University, as well as a few community theater actors.
"I'm trying to weave performance art into the First Friday walks," Monroe said. "I lived back East where First Fridays are the biggest parties of the month. It's huge."