Dead Letter Office (a prelude to Bartleby the Scrivener)

a piece by Matthew Earnest

Performed by Mark Farr, Shawn Parr, and Nicole Perrone
Scenic + Costume Design by William Bezek
Sound Design by James Kosmatka
Lighting Design by Matthew Earnest

premiere: 14 June 2012 at The Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center, Huntington, WV

In an underground bunker in an unnamed city, three anonymous Baroque figures are charged with deciphering and re-routing the world’s undeliverable mail. As the only ones on earth still adept with language, their job security has been solid for over two centuries. But today the tables will turn: these cloistered epistolographers will learn that the Enlightenment ended decades ago, and that their services are no longer needed.

In this uproarious prequel to Melville’s iconic story, Earnest and company use found letters to create an exuberant vaudeville that both celebrates and sighs for the bygone age of Humanism, a joyous elegy to the fading art of the written word.