2013 Capital Fringe Show Preview: ‘Murder on the Bare Stage’ by Stephen Mead

A Program of Masterful Literary-Poetic Suspense

For some years in Britain and elsewhere, I (Stephen Mead) have been performing pieces of literature, mostly from the Victorian era, as dramatic monologues. In the 1800s, reading aloud was very popular as an amusement. People had to make their own entertainment when they were at home as there was no radio or TV or internet, and so authors such as Dickens and Edgar Allan Poe made sure that their works would sound good when they were spoken.

Stephen Mead.
Stephen Mead.

Since moving to the Washington, DC area, I have been working with the writer Magus Magnus, who has written a book Idylls for the Bare Stage in which he develops the ancient form of the idyll into an exciting and accessible form of contemporary theatre. Magnus’ “Idylls,” poetic monologue designed for performance, have the goal of creating a very vivid theatrical experience through the barest of means – the actor alone on the bare stage, engaged with the audience to create the scene, actor and audience together in a shared imagining.
So, in discovering we had been working independently along similar and compatible lines, Magnus and I have collaborated to bring you “Murder on the Bare Stage”, combining my specialty of dramatic recitation with his approach to the idyll as a theatrical form.

The program will include works by Shakespeare, comic poet W S Gilbert, and three pieces by Magus Magnus on the theme of murder. The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe will alternate with The Murder of Nancy from Dickens’ Oliver Twist as a dramatic centerpiece of the performance. The Tell Tale Heart at the first show, The Murder of Nancy at the second, alternately for the seven performances.

Caos on F – 923 F Street, NW, in Washington DC
Between 9th and 10th Streets on F,
Gallery Place and Metro Center Metro stops.

July 12, 10:15pm
July 17, 9:30 pm
July 20, 2:30 pm
July 21, 8:45 pm
July 24, 10:15 pm
July 25, 7:00 pm
July 27, 8:00 pm


About Stephen Mead and Magus Magnus

Stephen Mead trained as an actor at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Stephen has worked for Britain’s Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Arts Collection Fund (UK), and Missenden Abbey Buckinghamshire among many other venues. He had the honor of being invited to present his one-man adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at the Dickens Festival in the author’s home town in Rochester, Kent, in the historic Guildhall three years in a row. He performed a tour of Switzerland under the auspices of the Anglo-Swiss Society and a coast to coast tour of the USA with singer Stacy Earle. His appearances in the Washington DC area include roles in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and “All’s Well that Ends Well, the part of the narrator in last year’s Capital Fringe Festival hit Medieval Storyland , and works as an entertainer in local hotels.

Magus Magnus is the author of The Re-echoes, Idylls for a Bare Stage, Heraclitean Pride, and Verb Sap. As artistic director of SiGiLPAL (Sui GenerisLiterary Performing Arts Lab), he explores, develops, and showcases a variety of approaches to performing the written word.  Magnus blogs specifically on the form of the Idyll at sharedimagining.blogspot.com

Magnus and Mead have presented their collaborative work at venues including Towson University, Baltimore, Happenings at the Harman hosted by the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Bloombars in Columbia Heights, the Laurel Arts Festival, and the Cruelest Month Poetry and Performance Festival, in Baltimore.

About Capital Fringe: Capital Fringe is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 2005 with the purpose of connecting exploratory artists with adventurous audiences by creating outlets and spaces for creative, cutting-edge, and contemporary performance in the District. Capital Fringe’s vital programs ensure the growth and continued health of the local and regional performing arts community by helping artists become independent producers while stimulating the vibrant cultural landscape in our city.




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