Sunday, October 31, 2010

Love sucks.

It's Halloween so I figure there's no better day for a post about Pioneer Theatre Company's (PTC) current production of Bram Stoker's Dracula.  I recently read a modern vampire tale, The Passage.  In that book, there's a scene where one of the main characters, Peter, watches an old vampire movie.  And he comments on how slow Dracula moves compared to his experience with vampires.  A little bit, this production felt the same way.  Yes I know that's because I've been desensitized by Hollywood's ability to produce stuff that's faster, bigger, more spectacular, and scarier than pretty much anything PTC can put on stage. But it's still a valid point.

Nonetheless, there is plenty to like about Charles Morey's stage adaptation of Stoker's classic novel. The play delivers a spooky Victorian attitude that I liked.  It made me want to know what it would be like to read a scary, strange story at a time before TV, Movies, or CGI.  And PTC did get my heart racing several times during the production. 

Mark Elliot Wilson is creepy and repulsive as Count Dracula.  And isn't that what you want from Dracula? Bob Ari delivers a perfect, Victorian version of Abraham Van Helsing.  I also liked Stephanie Fieger as Lucy Westenra, but aren't we glad that women have progressed since the late 19th Century.

What I like best about PTC's Dracula is the staging and direction.  The set is great.  But it wouldn't be as great if it weren't used so skillfully by director Morey.  And none of that would have mattered if it weren't for Kendall Smith's lighting design.  This is one of the best lit shows I've seen at PTC.

If you're in the mood for some scary theater, you've got one more week.  Bram Stoker's Dracula runs through November 6.

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