The Fall of the House of Usher is the story of beauty discovered in terror. William Reed, a homeless guitarist playing on the streets for change, plays one evening for an eccentric young man named Roderick Usher. Roderick, excited by the music which William has made, invites him for a drink and some food. After striking up a fast friendship, Roderick invites William to the magnificent house of Usher. It is in this mansion by the sea that William meets Madeline Usher, Roderick’s brilliant twin sister, and Annabel Lee, Roderick’s lover. These four differ greatly in personality, but a joint love of music brings them all together in a great friendship.
Within days of arriving at the house, it becomes apparent that William’s invitation there might not have been simply friendly. Roderick encourages him to run away with Madeline and get married, but William finds himself falling in love with Annabel as well as Madeline. Roderick sees this and becomes convinced that his friend is trying to steal what is his. After a tragedy occurs, Roderick kicks William out of the house and tells him never to return.
Ten years later, William receives a letter from Roderick. His old friend is dying of sensitivity to sound, among other ailments, and requests that William return to the house. Being a true friend, William does. What he finds there is a world in decay: Roderick, Madeline, and the house itself all seem to be close to death. While old friendships and old flames rekindle, long-buried secrets of the past return to haunt them all. And as Madeline Usher might say, the faster you bury, the faster fate digs….
Since each of the four main characters in the show is a talented musician, every song is played organically by the characters. In other words, they are playing their own music and they play only when (with the exception of dream sequences) it would make logical sense for an actual musician to share a song. Because of this, we learn about the interior thoughts of the characters through more than just their lyrics-- we understand them through the music that they write and through the way they choose to play it. We can hear, as the show continues, the influences that the characters absorb from one another’s music and personalities.