Fast forward several years and I am now a professional actor. I received a form letter from a booking agency specializing in one person shows that they could book in schools and libraries. Of course I didn’t have such a show so I threw the letter in the trash. Here is where Fate intervened. The letter landed face up and open on the top of the trash can and every time I walked through the kitchen I glanced down a read more of the letter.They were looking for historical characters, shows no longer than an hour. They said that there were hundreds of local venues looking for such performances and listed a ball park fee they were willing to pay for each performance.
Well I’m an actor and actors are always looking for a job so the wheels started turning and by the third pass through the kitchen the entire Edgar Allan Poe show had presented itself to my mind and I was on the phone with this agency pitching the show within the hour.
They were thrilled with the idea and began booking me right away. I put the entire show together in 5 days and the rest is history.
I have since performed Poe over 1000 times to more than 300 standing ovations. I have recently been honored with the title Voice of Poe for the Poe House and Museum in Fordham NY. When you take the tour of Poe’s home you will hear my voice performing his work and all because my father tricked me into reading Edgar Allan Poe
I began to read and memorize The Raven. And while immersing myself in this poem I read The Tell-tale Heart, The Black Cat and The Cask of Amontillado (I assure you my fellow third graders did not share my enthusiasm for Edgar Allan Poe.)
I had committed to memory nearly a third of the poem when I realized that my father wasn’t studying the poem and this had been a rouse to get me to read Poe. Well it worked and Edgar Allan Poe was now firmly anchored in my psyche and like a haunting would be with me all my life.
Book Duffy Now !
I am often asked how I came to do a one man show on the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe.
Well I’m 9 years old and my father comes into my room reading The Raven. I’m immediately taken by the language and though I have no idea what this bird is doing in the guy’s bedroom I am none the less captivated.
When this impromptu performance had concluded my father informed me that we were going to learn this poem and perform it together for the family on Halloween.
Now you have to understand that my father was also an actor and this was no casual performance so the idea of performing this for the family was very exciting.
Edgar Allan Poe