Hollywood Gothique

Drama After Dark: A Night of the Macabre

Literary Horror Brought to Vivid Life
  • Plays & Peformances

Hollywood Gothique Says:

Drama After DarkAs vivid as a hallucination, as binding as a spell – Drama After Dark’s annual “Night of the Macabre with Poe and Gorey” should be on every Halloween fanatic’s must-see list.

Like the Wicked Lit Halloween Theatre Festival, Drama After Dark offers performances based on classic horror literature, staged in an unconventional venue; however, Drama After Dark is more faithful to the source material. The staging is simpler; the effect is more intimate, with actors in period costume addressing the audience directly, often in the form of confessional monologues, bringing the texts to life with energetic and inspiring performances.

Drama After Dark is suggested for ages ten and up; no one under 18 is allowed without adult supervision.

The event typically sells out in advance, with no ticket sales at the event venue.


Status: Since the 2020 pandemic, Drama After Dark has been on hiatus due to inability to secure a suitable location. We will keep you informed of any updates.

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History of Drama After Dark: A Night of the Macabre with Poe and Gorey

In 2003, Drama After Dark began offering this series of half-hour vignettes, usually staged one night a year during the Halloween season, in the gardens and buildings around the Huntington Library.  Readings and plays based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe and Edward Gorey were performed by the Guild of St. George. Titles include “The Pit and the Pendulum,” The Tell-Tale Heart,” and others. The presentation utilized costumes but minimal sets and props, relying on the environment of Huntington Garden to provide the atmosphere. The performances were more spoken word than dramatizations.

During the course of the evening, audience members saw up to six out of the ten or more performances, which played simultaneously at various sites throughout the upper levels of the grounds. Most of the performances were outdoors (with chairs provided), requiring the audience to walk to various sites. To enhance the mood of the evening, many of the lights on the grounds are dimmed or turned off completely. In the case of “Gorey Stories,” several actors gave tag-team readings of Gorey’s fiendishly funny poetry. The Poe adaptations were not truly adaptations at all but monologues delivering the author’s texts verbatim, like confessionals delivered by guilty murders, with the exception of “Cask of Amontillado,” which featured dialogue and character interaction.

In 2014, scheduling conflicts prevented a return to Huntington Gardens. Instead, Drama After Dark was performed at the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center in Rancho Cucamonga, and a condensed version was incorporated into the second year of the L.A. Zoo’s short-lived Night of the Living Zoo.

Drama After Dark returned to Huntington Gardens in 2015, where it remained through 2018, In 2019, Huntington Gardens opted to presents its own version of the event, Huntington After Dark, which included Poe presentation but substituted Shakespeare for Gorey. Meanwhile, Drama After Dark found a new home at the Portico Art Space in Pasadena. The former church was not a satisfying location, lacking outdoor locations; consequently, the performances took place mostly in cramped office rooms. Fortunately, the actual church provided a magnificent setting for “Fall of the House of Usher.”

In 2020, Drama After Dark cancelled its annual live performance in response to the pandemic lockdown, instead presenting a virtual version via a series of YouTube videos. Since then, the event has been unable to secure a suitable location while taking into account lingering concerns over safety due toCovid-19.

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