"Dracula" will be a devised theatrical production exploring the narrative created by Bram Stoker. The aim is to explore the interactive nature of performance, breaking down the barriers between audience, performer and the performance space.
Taking inspiration from the "Amazing Maze Horror Night" situated outside of Marton and the increased popularity of the horror/thriller genre in cinemas, "Bloodworks" aims to create a ninety minute show based on the novel by Bram Stoker. The story of Dracula is one of the great, all-time horror stories and has been frightening people for over a hundred years. It has a strong, well known narrative that lends itself to interactive audience involvement.
This will see the creation of a new theatre genre: Thriller-Theatre.
Venue: Palmerston North electric power station Keith Street, just off Main Street.
Show runs from the 15th of May to the 29th of May.
Starts at 8 pm on the 15th, 16th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 23rd, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th and the 29th May with a midnight show on Friday the 21st (if you dare).
No shows Monday 17 and 24, and Saturday 22.
Being quite a big fan of Dracula, I approached this show with just a hint of trepidation. After finding out that I was also to see it, not in a theatre as I had expected, but in a disused electric power plant, my interest was piqued anew.
I arrived at the venue eager to see the possible difficulties I may encounter during the show. Pleasantly surprised, I found easy access to the building and an eagerness from the crew to offer their assisstance at any time should I need. Candles lit a small room in which the audience gathered to wait for the start of the show and hear some safety rules. I noticed an extra nice touch added to a bowl in the centre of the room - garlic. We all were led through some doors and placed in a circle on white sheets which covered what I found out later were Judo mats.
In walked two young girls and sat in the middle of the circle, both with dolls, which they started to play with. As they are playing it becomes clear they are acting out, in their way, the story of Dracula. The action then moves to Jonathan Harker, recently married and on business in the mountains of Transylvania. From then on, the action was fast-paced and well scripted. The use of Judo mats on the floor became apparent as the play progressed from a semi-interactive face to face between Jonathan and Dracula to a reasonably involved and active telling of the Bram Stoker story.
The use of the power plant as a venue was a good choice, in my opinion, as it gave the actors the added benefit of realistic scenery for the time period.
In all, I feel that this was one of the most faithful and stirring versions of this classic story of Dracula.
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