Beloved NY storyteller brings “utterly absorbing and unexpectedly

Beloved NY storyteller brings “utterly absorbing and unexpectedly moving” tale
to Hop October 22 & 23
HANOVER, NH—Helen & Edgar—acclaimed raconteur Edgar Oliver’s mesmerizing, hilarious and heartbreaking
tale of his and his sister’s childhood in a decaying Savannah mansion ruled by an eccentric artist mother—
comes to the Hop’s Warner Bentley Theater on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 22 and 23, at 7 pm.
Since the show premiered in New
York last fall, critics have praised it as
“utterly absorbing and unexpectedly
moving” (The New York Times) and
“raw, riveting and—despite its
eccentricity—highly relatable”
(Metro New York). Wrote New York
Magazine, “Oliver, with nothing but
his alien timbre and a few perfectly
chosen gestures, captivates and
mesmerizes as we laugh and gasp at
the agonizing, exhilarating
upbringing that shaped his one-of-akind voice, hewed it out of insanity,
chaos and, most troublingly, love.”
Lauded by The New York Times as “a living work of theater all by himself,” Oliver is a novelist, poet, and
playwright, and an incandescent presence in the New York art scene. Helen & Edgar is an expanded version of
a story he has been weaving piece by piece since his debut at spoken word event The Moth in 1998, when he
instantly became an audience favorite.
Oliver’s earlier play, East Tenth Street: Self-Portrait with Empty House, was a critical and commercial smash,
with sold-out runs in New York, Edinburgh and Charleston. He was a featured performer in the Jared Hess film
Gentlemen Broncos, and he’s gained a broad cult following from his regular appearances on the Discovery
Channel series Oddities. He also is the featured performer in Sudden Owl, a new documentary about the
global raconteuring movement that was sparked by The Moth.
Oliver bases Helen & Edgar on his and his year-older sister’s upbringing in a ramshackle, ivy-smothered home
with their long-widowed mother, Louise. With her lax housekeeping, odd habits and mood swings, and
tenacious hold on her children, Louise is a troubling presence—but she’s also a gifted and productive artist, as
shown by the sketches and paintings of hers that are projected throughout Helen & Edgar. Oliver depicts her
in rich Southern Gothic detail but “without recrimination,” writes The New York Times. “He instead presents a
child’s-eye view that finds enchantment in the tight web of ritual his mother wove around them.”
Oliver’s distinctive appearance and speech mannerisms add extra zest, writes, citing his
“marvelously evocative words, delivered inimitably in a persona that he wears easily—the unusual voice, the
spare use of gesture, the strange connection with everyone in the room that he so effortlessly manages desire
wearing his otherness so obviously on his sleeve. Oliver is a masterful storyteller.”
More about Helen & Edgar
More about Edgar Oliver
Helen & Edgar at the Hop
Download high-resolution photos
Helen & Edgar by Edgar Oliver
“Never were there three more lost children than Mother, Helen and me.” So begins playwright, poet and
performer Oliver’s “utterly absorbing and unexpectedly moving” (The New York Times) account of his
childhood in a decaying Savannah mansion ruled by an eccentric artist mother. A regular on NPR’s The
Moth Radio Hour and Discovery Channel’s The Oddities— and a legend on New York’s downtown theater
scene—Oliver alternately tickles and terrifies in this real-life Southern Gothic tale, embellished with his
unique persona and unmistakable voice.
Tuesday & Wednesday, October 22 & 23, 7 pm
Warner Bentley Theater, Hopkins Center for the Arts, Hanover NH
Tickets $25; Dartmouth students $10
Information: Hopkins Center Box Office, 603.646.2422 or
* * *
Founded in 1962, the Hopkins Center for the Arts is a multi-disciplinary academic, visual and performing
arts center dedicated to uncovering insights, igniting passions, and nurturing talents to help Dartmouth and
the surrounding Upper Valley community engage imaginatively and contribute creatively to our world. Each
year the Hop presents more than 300 live events and films by visiting artists as well as Dartmouth students
and the Dartmouth community, and reaches more than 22,000 Upper Valley residents and students with
outreach and arts education programs. After a celebratory 50th-anniversary season in 2012-13, the Hop
enters its second half-century with renewed passion for mentoring young artists, supporting the
development of new work, and providing a laboratory for participation and experimentation in the arts.
Rebecca Bailey, Publicity Coordinator/Writer
Hopkins Center for the Arts, Dartmouth College
[email protected]