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August 29, 2013 (El Cajon) – The presidents of sister colleges in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District will be among the performers in a pair of staged readings of the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 6, and Saturday, September 7, in Room 220 of Building 26 on the Grossmont College campus.

Presidents Mark Zacovic of Cuyamaca College and Sunita V. Cooke of Grossmont College will read some Poe poems that have held them in their thrall since their childhoods.

"I remember sitting in rapt attention at the feet of my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Fretz, as she read 'The Tell-Tale Heart' to the class after rest time," reminisced Zacovic.

"I've loved Edgar Allan Poe ever since I was a little kid," commented Cooke.  "I would read the short stories and the poems and when I was younger the Radio Theatre would feature them.  Sometimes my parents would be coming back from an event to which the whole family had gone and the Edgar Allan Poe story wouldn't be over yet.  So I would sit in the dark in the car with all the doors locked, listening to Edgar Allan Poe Radio Theatre."

Cooke said that she was an elementary school student in Missouri when she learned to love such poems as "Annabel Lee" and "The Raven."  She added that some years ago when her own son, Dillon, was in middle school, she read Poe’s poems to him.

Another reader will be Agustin Albarran, Grossmont College’s dean of English, Social and Behavioral Sciences.  He recalled that when he was a teenager, “we would go to the North Park Theatre and see movies like The Conqueror Worm with Vincent Price and be horrified--even though we knew it wasn't real. But when I saw the words of 'The Tell-Tale Heart' on paper, I could really imagine the fear that this individual had in his mind. To this day I still have the image of him pulling up the planks of the floorboard and seeing the dismembered bodies, with the heart. I think Poe was telling us that things that are on your mind just don't go away.”

Other Grossmont College cast members in the 90-minute program include Kurt Brauer, interim grounds and maintenance supervisor; theatre arts instructor Jeannette Thomas; Manny Lopez, theatre design production technician; Adam Weiner, an alumnus who suggested the Poe evenings; communications professor Joel Castellaw; and alumnus Aaron Duggan and student Derek San Filippo.

Tickets for either night's performance are $20 for general admission and $10 for students, with proceeds supporting the programs of Grossmont College's theatre arts department.  More information may be obtained at the Stagehouse Theatre box office in Building 22A on the Grossmont College campus, or by phoning (619)-644-7234.