POST: 'Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey' - like I had dived into another time and place

What's it about?

Edward Gorey was a famous author, but he was also very mysterious.

What'd I experience?

After finally fishing up an insane amount of work for school, this college student finally gets a break. I take a trip downtown to spend half a day in the Drama Book Shop and afterwards, end my night with the play Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey.

I know what you’re thinking: “Bryan knows who Edward Gorey is...” No, this 19 year old went in there with no idea who this man is. And NO! I did not just go ahead and Google him before the show. I decided to let the play properly inform me.

Notice how the title says the secret live(S) of Edward Gorey. He didn’t have multiple personalities but the title alluded to the three main points of his life: Teenager --> Young Adult --> Older Man. Which were the only three characters in the show.

Also, the show encouraged the audience to get on the set and check it out before and after the show. It was a very messy room. There were type writers and papers and balls of yarn and a very fly fur coat. I need a fur coat. This set was like a museum exhibit, like I had dived into another time and place.

So I go to take my seat and now the show begins (or does it?). This old man appears and tells us that the show will begin shortly and that they are just getting ready backstage. He also tells us to shut off our phones and that Gorey hated cell phones and somehow, some way, they start the show with the help of a very smooth transition. Turns out that old man was Gorey. I had that thought in my mind, but Bryan doesn’t analyze the playbill to obviously spot the resemblance.

So two things stuck out to me as they were telling this story. First, the way the actors fell in and out of the characters like they were telling the story of Gorey, and then a couple lines later they were Gorey. I was getting confused but I picked it up.

Then there was this amazing CINEMATIC THEATRE feel. CINEMATIC THEATRE. I had to say it twice. It’s just so awesome. They had skits projected. Old Gorey went into the screen like Steve from Blues Clues and started playing with his doodle. The Doubtful Guest. This was great.

As I mentioned, the story is being told by the teenage, young adult, and old version of Gorey. And there was this moment where the teenage version of Gorey was disappointed in the kind of person he had became. So closed-in, stubborn, and stuck up. I feel like the universe is warning me of the possibilities (for myself) that I won't be pleased to look back on. So I make sure to work today for a better tomorrow while living in the moment and growing.

 Some fun facts about Gorey:

  • He collected pictures of dead babies.
  • He owned sandwich glasses.
  • He didn't like technology.
  • He hated the holidays.
  • He was a hoarder.
  • He liked to wear fur coats. 
  • He liked having everything messy.
  • And he's gay.

Turns out Gorey was an author. Why did he become an author? Well, in his words: “Why be just one person when you can be multiple ones?” Very true. He had amazing illustrated books with content so dark the the New Yorker wouldn’t hire him and they even suggested that he tone it down. This play really took it to a whole other level and I had a great time.


Want to see it?

$21 tickets (thru TDF membership)

@The Sheen Center
thru Jan. 14