Washington, DC - October 7, 2009 With the approaching Halloween season, as well as the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday, Scena Theatre presents a Poe Double Feature: Poe’s horror classic The Fall of the House of Usher (play by Steven Berkoff) and his gothic masterpiece The Tell-Tale Heart. Press night will be Thurs., Oct. 29th, with Pay What You Can previews on Oct. 24, 25, and 30. Opening Night / Halloween event will be on Sat., Oct. 31. Show will run Thurs. - Sat. at 8pm and Sun. at 3pm through Nov. 29 at H Street Playhouse,1365 H Street, NE, Washington, DC. 

In addition to the regular show times, Scena offers a “Fright Fete” on Halloween (performances at 7 and 10pm with a reception in between), the Day of the Dead (Nov. 1), as well as Fri., Nov. 13.  For more information on the special packages, please contact

The Fall of the House of Usher, (1840) is "a fantastical tale of the impossible that manifests the crumbling nature of Roderick Usher's inner decay….The moor's pestilential environment, the cry of the wind, ancient things groaning under the weight of age. A death, a resurrection". (Poe and Performance, Berkoff). Poe’s masterful story of insanity and premature burial lures us into a surreal and occult dream world, blurring the boundaries between life and death, body and soul, object and subject, beauty and decay where the supernatural is felt with traumatic intensity. 

The Tell-Tale Heart (1834) is Poe’s masterfully composed tale of murder, a dramatic monologue by a murderer creating the utmost suspense by re-counting and reliving the deed - at the same time a psychological study of an abnormal consciousness. 

Edgar Allan Poe (Author) one of the most fascinating representatives of the “American Renaissance” and a prototype of the writer as Romantic outcast, Poe was born in Boston in 1809. Poe’s essays The Philosophy of Composition (1846) and The Poetic Principle (1850) are considered pivotal texts for modern literary theory. Poe's life has attracted as much attention as his writing, and he has been variously pictured as a sado-masochist, dipsomaniac, drug addict and manic depressive. In 1836 he married his then 14 year old cousin, Virginia, who died of tuberculosis eleven years later. Devastated by her death, Poe lamented: "I became insane, with long intervals of sanity. During these fits of absolute unconsciousness...I enemies referred the insanity to the drink, rather than the drink to the insanity".

Steven Berkoff (Playwright / Adaptor), born in 1937 is a British actor, director and playwright. His memorable villainous roles in "A Clockwork Orange” "Octopussy" and "Rambo" made him a popular film actor. He is also a very prolific playwright, mostly known for his stage adaptations of European classics of Kafka and Aeschylus. Other Berkoff plays include East, West, Sink the Belgrano!, and Decadence. His provocative “in your face” performance style have made Berkoff a much discussed and controversial figure in contemporary British (and European) Theatre.

Scena’s artistic team: Usher features actors Eric M. Messner (Roderick), Colleen Delany (Madeline), and David Bryan Jackson (Oswald/ Friend/ Edgar). Set design by Michael C. Stepowany, costumes and masks by Alisa Mandel, light design by Marianne Meadows, sound design / compositions by David Crandall. Directed by SCENA artistic director Robert McNamara who will perform The Tell-Tale Heart.

Opening: October 24 — 29, 2009  (Thurs. – Sat. at 8pm;  Sun. at 3pm)

PWYC: Previews: October 24, 25, and 30.

Venue: H Street Playhouse,  1365 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

Press: Email:, call 571.216.5136, or click on Press link (at left) for Press Photos

Price: $25 - $45 (Adults – $35 Thursday & Matinees; $45 Friday & Saturday Evenings. Students & Seniors – $25 Thursday & Matinees. $35 Friday & Saturday Evenings; must show IDs at Box Office for discount.)

Tickets: Buy online at or reserve by Phone: 202.399.7993 ext. 2.

Previews: Sat. Aug. 15 (8pm), Sun. Aug. 16 (3pm), Wed. Aug. 19 (8pm), Thurs. Aug. 20 (8pm), Fri. Aug. 21 (8pm), and Sat. Aug. 22 (3pm)

Parking: Valet Parking is available at 1353 H Street NE (Rock & Roll Hotel, a few doors down). If driving, side-street parking is suggested (Maryland Ave, 10th–12th Streets, etc.). Also, the X2 Metrobus runs down H Street. Visit for schedules.

Scena Theatre brings the best international theatre to Washington, DC and to stimulates cultural exchange between theatre artists, locally and worldwide. Founded in 1987 under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert McNamara and Managing Director Amy Schmidt, Scena produces an annual season of plays, seasonally staged readings, as well as a Workshop Series aimed at developing new works from around the globe. To learn more about our mission or past stage productions, please call 703.684.7990 or visit