LUSK – Life imitates art, as they say. However, in this case, one man uses art to imitate the lives and stories of others. Duffy Hudson, who is an actor, director, writer, teacher and filmmaker, shared with us on Sept. 12 a glimpse into the life of Edgar Allen Poe and some of his art he created based around his life and struggles. Hudson, who was brought to town thanks to the generous efforts of the Niobrara County Library here in Lusk, arrived to perform at the Congregational Church of Lusk from 1:30-2:30 p.m.
The performance itself was amazing. Hudson having dressed for the part perfectly, capturing the vision of Poe to the letter, began by dramatically entering the chapel while proclaiming to all that he indeed is sorry for his appearances, but he should like to tell his tale to those who would listen. Then, he began to delve into the somber filled emotion of the loss of Poe’s mother, pulling out a locket that held the image of her, and expressing his remorse at her passing. Moving more into the tales and then the works of Poe, he captures the atmosphere with theatrical movements, and a prop of one of the chairs available, and even his own outfit, using his coat for added flair.
An Interview with Hudson
“My name is Duffy Hudson and I'm a performer that lives in California,” he said. “I did a performance of Edgar Allen Poe. In this performance, Poe comes out and tells his life story, performs some of his more popular works like The Raven, A Tell-Tale Heart, Annabel Lee, as well as certain letters that he had written. I’ve been performing Poe for many years.
“It started as a fascination as a young kid at about nine years old when my father came into my room a few weeks before Halloween, and he was reading a poem called ‘The Raven’ to me. It was fascinating, I mean I was listening to this poem I had never heard before and it’s sad and kind of romantic but kind of sad and creepy. Then, we had the idea, my father and I, let’s memorize this together and we could perform it for the family on Halloween. My father was always a very dramatic fellow and I thought this would be really fun!
“So, the very next day, while still in third grade, I went down to the school library, and I got the complete works of Poe and started memorizing ‘The Raven.’
“Now, while I’m memorizing The Raven, I am starting to read and memorize these other stories, like ‘The Tell-Tale Heart,’ I’m reading ‘The Cask of Amontillado,’ I’m reading ‘The Black Cat’ and I’m finding Edgar Allan Poe just fascinating! I’m sure the other nine-year-olds in my class were not sharing in my enthusiasm for Poe but I thought it was pretty wild stuff. Anyways, I'm memorizing it, and it was no small feat when I finally realized that my father’s not going to memorize it.
“Now, maybe he’d see it as an idea to get me to read, a ruse to encourage me or maybe he really was going to, but he’s gone now so I can't really ask him. So, then you fast forward many years, and I was offered an opportunity to perform a one man show of my creation and immediately thought of Edgar Allan Poe. So, what initially, when I was nine years old, started as a big disappointment when my father and I didn’t get to perform it, it became kind of like ‘A Boy Named Sue’ kind of thing in that he gave me this gift of Poe that has since now turned into a career.
“I have nine one-man shows now, I do all kinds of different characters. I do the entire novel of Dickenson’s ‘A Christmas Carol,’ where in about 75 minutes I've played about 30 different characters and it’s insane! But none of this would have ever happened if I hadn’t started with that first one-man show of Edgar Allan Poe. And so, interestingly enough, disappointment became a career, so that’s how it was kind of a gift to me from my father.
“Other shows I do, I do Albert Einstein, I do George Burns, I do Audie Murphy. I also do a Doctor Seuss show, and a magic show with Houdini, where I escape from a straitjacket and swallow needles. That's a pretty cool show as well. There’s also a murder mystery show that I do, I do all kinds of stuff and I’m going to do a movie here in Northern California, coming up in November called ‘Corked!’ about a winery. With that, that is my story and thank you so much, for listening and hope you all have a wonderful day, thank you.”
Duffy Hudson can be reached through his website for more information at DuffyHudson.com