man of words theatre

Delgani String Quartet preview: crimes of passion

Portland and Springfield concerts combine theatrical readings with music by Shostakovich, Janacek and a premiere by Oregon composer Paul Safar 

by GARY FERRINGTON

“True! — nervous — very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?

Those words from Edgar Allan Poe’s famous short story, The Tell-Tale Heart, grabbed Paul Safar when the Eugene composer and pianist and Delgani String Quartet artistic director Wyatt True heard them read by Eugene actor Rickie Birran in a meeting last year. The Delganis had asked Birran, of the Man of Words Theatre Company, to suggest possible literary-themed works that might work for their April 20-21 concerts. When Safar heard Birran’s reading of Poe’s tale, the themes of sanity, guilt, and fear in the voice of the narrator/murderer transfixed the composer. “I was immediately interested in setting it to music right from those first few words,” Safar says.

Delgani String Quartet performs with Man of Word Theatre Company’s Rickie Birran.

Birran’s readings and Delgani’s premiere of Safar’s The Tell-Tale Heart highlight the Saturday and Sunday Murder and Madness concerts of spoken word and music in Springfield and Portland, which dramatizes crimes of passion and human insanity in celebrated texts by Edgar Allan Poe, Leo Tolstoy, and Mary Shelley.

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