Sunday, October 18, 2015
My Review of Dracula at the 2015 Fall Utah Shakespeare Festival
I really don't like the new bard.org website. It hates Safari users, for one thing. But one of the worst things is that it will not allow the use of photos, not even when properly credited. Thus, to find a photo to advertise one of the plays, I had to use one from the Salt Lake Tribune.
To see more photos (which you can't use) and to buy ticket, go to bard.org.
So, I love the novel Dracula, written by Bram Stoker and published in 1897. I teach the novel every year to my GT 9th graders, and I know it well.
Naturally, I've seen quite a few vampire movies in my time, but I had never seen a live theatre version of Dracula until this week. It may have been worth the wait.
Do you love vampires? Halloween? Dracula? You need to see this play!
My one gripe was that the chosen script (Dracula is public domain, so there are plenty of adapted versions out there) changed way too many things about the book. Yes, I understand the need to shorten the story, but so many things were changed that weren't necessary. Why, for example, have Lucy refuse Dr. Seward's marriage proposal for no reason because Arthur (the guy she accepts in the book) is cut out of the script? That made no sense whatsoever. Also, in the book, Mina marries Jonathan. But in the play she doesn't. And there's no reason why. In fact, the horrid, rape-like scene wherein Dracula hypnotizes Jonathan so he can force Mina to drink his blood had to be changed -- and it lacks quite a bit because of it.
Now, the end of the play changes the end of the book -- but it may be for the better. The end of the novel Dracula is a bit too much chase and then a way-too-quick end to the vampire. I almost liked the stage version better.
Also, the script adapter clearly didn't understand that the English were mostly Protestant at the time of this story and that Catholicism and its mysterious rites were all part of the Gothic. His blunders with that are pretty glaring.
However, the acting is fantastic! (or fangtastic, if you prefer). Tyler Pierce is a sexy, creepy vampire. Lucy and Mina are very well done. Van Helsing is good. Renfield is convincing. Seward is very believably in love with Lucy.
The costumes are wonderful. I especially loved Dracula's look as the "old" count before he comes to England and grows younger with fresh blood. I'd never pictured him the way he's costumed and wigged for this show, and I really liked it.
The set! Oh my goodness!
Huge projections make ghostly backdrops! The spurting blood! The blood transfusions with blood actually appearing to travel through the tubes! The fangs!
I would definitely pay to see this again if I had the time.
Seriously, if you're a vampire fan, get tickets and go! It runs until the end of the month. Don't waste time deliberating; just plan your trip!