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Poe! Poe! Poe!
Small Cast (Touring) Play for Theatres, Schools

Script Sample

Running Time: About 40-45 minutes
Flexible cast of 4, 2 Male, 2 Female
Easily adapted for larger cast

POE: (M)

ACTOR 1: (M)

ACTOR 2: (F)

ACTOR 3: (F)


Some Passages in the Life of a Lion


The Tell-Tale Heart

Annabel Lee

The Masque of the Red Death

The Raven

Life of Thingum Bob, Esq.

Ghostly Fun for Young and Old!
Edgar Allan Poe Play for Kids! - Poe! Poe! Poe! Edgar Allan Poe Play for Kids! - Poe! Poe! Poe!
Youth Theatre Classes, Soul Motion Studio, Eureka Springs, AR


Poe! Poe! Poe! may be done Readers Theatre style.  Multiple readers can greatly enhance the drama of a story.  Here is the Halloween Classic, The Tell Tale Heart...

(POE chews pen and thinks, begins to write again, speaks as he writes each word. ACTOR 1 will begin to talk with POE saying the same words together. Then POE will stop speaking and ACTOR 1 will continue. POE will join other actors to emphasize parts of the story through vocal sounds and physical movement)

POE: True! — nervous — very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am ...

POE & ACTOR 1: But why will you say that I am mad?

ACTOR 1: The disease had sharpened my senses — not destroyed — not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily — how calmly I can tell you the whole story.


ACTOR 1: It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain. But once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire.

ACTOR 2: 1 think it was his eye!

ACTOR 1: Yes, it was this!

ACTOR 3: One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture — a pale blue eye, with a film over it.

ACTOR 1: Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; so by degrees-very gradually — I made up my mind...

ACTOR 3: I made up my mind...

ACTOR 2: 1 made up my mind...

ACTOR 1: ... to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.


ACTOR 1: Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded...

ACTOR 2: With what caution...

ACTOR 3: With what foresight...

ACTOR 1: With what dissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it...

ACTOR 2: Oh, so gently!

ACTOR 1: Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust my head in! I moved it slowly...

ACTOR 3: Very, very slowly...

ACTOR 1: It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! Would a madman be so wise? I did this for seven long nights. Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. Perhaps he heard me though, for he moved on the bed...

ACTOR 3: Suddenly!

ACTOR 1: As if startled. Now you may think that I drew back...

ACTOR 2: But no!

ACTOR 1: I had my head in and was about to open the lantern, when presently I heard a slight groan...

ACTORS 1 & 3: OOOHHHH, ooohhhh.

ACTOR 1: And I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him, although I chuckled at heart. I knew he had been lying awake, his fears had been growing upon him. He was thinking that he had heard nothing. He was saying to himself...

ACTOR 3: "It is nothing but the wind in the chimney – it is only a mouse crossing the floor."

ACTOR 2: "It is merely a cricket which has made a single chirp."

ACTOR 1: Yes, he was trying to comfort himself with these suppositions; but he had found all in vain. All in vain; because Death, in approaching him, had stalked his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victim.

ACTOR 2: So I opened the door...

ACTOR 3: You cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily...

ACTOR 1: Until, at length, a single dim ray, like a thread of a spider, shot out from the crevice and full upon the vulture eye! I could see nothing else of the old man's face, for I had directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the damned spot.


ACTOR 1: And now have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the senses? Now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well too. It was the beating...

(POE may beat drum quietly at this point and build to end)

ACTOR 2: Beating!

ACTOR 1: It was the beating of the old man's heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.


ACTOR 1: But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed. I held the lantern motionless. I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray upon the eye. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It grew...

ACTOR 2: Quicker! Quicker!

ACTOR 3: Louder! Louder!

ACTOR 1: The old man's terror must have been extreme! It grew louder and louder every minute! Do you mark me well? I have told you I am nervous; so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still.

ACTOR 3: But the beating grew louder and louder!

ACTOR 1: I thought the heart might burst. And now a new anxiety seized me — the sound would be heard by a neighbor! The old man's hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once — once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor and pulled the heavy bed covers over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done.

ACTOR 2: But, for many minutes the heart beat on with a muffled sound.

ACTOR 1: This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall.

ACTOR 3: At length, it ceased.

ACTOR 1: The old man was dead. I removed the bed covers and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, stone dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes. There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more.


ACTOR 1: If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs. I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye...

ACTOR 2: Not even his?

ACTOR 1: Could have detected anything wrong. There was nothing to wash out — no stain of any kind — no blood spot whatever. I had been too wary for that. A tub had caught all — ha! ha! When I had made an end of these labors, it was four o'clock. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking at the street door. I opened it — for what had I to fear? There entered three men, who introduced themselves as...

ACTOR 2: Officers of the police.

ACTOR 3: A shriek has been heard in the night.

ACTOR 2: There is suspicion of foul play.

ACTOR 3: We have been deputed to search the premises.

ACTOR 1: I smiled, for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome.

The Tell Tale Heart continues...

Note: This is a sample from the actual script.  To review the entire play, order the PERUSAL SCRIPT (online instant download).

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