Friday, July 4, 2014

Dickens and Poe: A Tale of Two Authors

By Kristopher Karcher

     Fourth of July is different for everyone. For me, it's always been a family affair. It gets a bit harder each year for us all to come together, but I have fond memories of many past independence days. I would usually spend some time at the community pool, then head over to my grandparent's house for dinner and fireworks. While burnt charcoal wafted through the air mixing with marinated steaks, burgers, and hot dogs, my cousins and I would wait patiently playing card games, jumping in the bay, or, as everyone got older, enjoying happy hour. But amongst all the Jell-O shots and red, white, and blue streamers, it is imperative that we as citizens of the United States remember why we celebrate this beautiful day of freedom. Because on July 4, 1776, a bunch of sweaty guys hunched up in a small building in Philadelphia signed a Declaration that they were tired of the Brit’s taxes and wanted to be their own country, with their own taxation system to fight over for the next couple hundred years.

Philadelphia, my home city, is now considered one of THE historical centers for early America. Here’s a few fun facts about my beautiful home city of brotherly love (with their citations of course):

1.       The Philadelphia Phillies are the best team in all of major league baseball, unless of course, they’re losing (my father).
2.       Will Smith is from Philly… which is like… a total win (IMDB)
3.       You haven’t had a real cheesesteak until you’ve had one made in Philly (literally everyone).



Here’s another interesting fact about historic Philadelphia.  In 1842, two incredible authors met in the city for a chat, but mysteriously, no one knows what they talked about or what came of it. The authors in question were Mr. Charles Dickens and Mr. Edgar Allen Poe. So of course how could a writer come across this story without wanting to write his own version of their conversation? Playwright Mike Perrie surely couldn’t resist. His play The Raven Doesn’t Talk, part of this year’s Strawberry Theatre Festival, features the two writers at a pub on that fateful day in 1842. Mr. Perrie navigates their relationship through clever dialogue and gives a few ideas as to why no one knows what happened, such as:

1.       Why did they never speak of their meeting?
2.       Is it possibly something spooked them? Something perhaps paranormal? and
3.       Did the meeting spark an idea for their next book?

The Raven Doesn’t Talk is a great play for any literary fans, anyone interested in historical fiction, or (as with the rest of the plays in the Strawberry Theatre and One Act Festival) just anyone who enjoys good theatre. Be sure to check it out it will be performed on Sunday, August 24, 2013 at 7:30pm and Monday, August 25th at 8pm at the Theatre at St. Clement’s, 423 West 46th Street, NYC.  For tickets go to

What do you do each Fourth of July?
What two authors would you love to explore a conversation between? What would they say? Comment and Tweet us @RiantTheatre

      Listen to the interview with playwright Michael Perrie, Jr.

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