Director Dan Clarke explains the thinking behind his own new adaptation of Bram Stoker's horror classic, Dracula.
Vampires got soft. It is hard to pinpoint exactly when it happened, perhaps Billy the Kid vs Dracula in ’66, but by the time that The Lost Boys came around vampires were no longer the creature to fear when stepping out after nightfall. Vampires ceased being a source of horror and instead became a staple of pop culture that became more sanitised as the years went by; from Buffy to glitter and sparkles they have become a source of romance and teen television.
Our endeavour then, in this new adaptation, is to rectify that. Bram Stoker’s original work caused a sensation not because it was wholly original, there had been vampire stories throughout the nineteenth century, but because it was dangerous and unsettling. The way the heroines and hero of the novel are stalked by Dracula broke Victorian taboos, the attacks carrying sexual overtones that threatened the innocent on more than one level.
The play does not simply retell the novel in a simple format, however, yet twists it ever so slightly as to bring out the themes and challenges. The focus shifts the attention to the three women that inhabit the lower regions of the castle. It allows the audience to see the narrative through the eyes of Jonathan Harker. These wantons, who each take inspiration from the myriad of versions in which they’ve been seen over the years, become the suitors of Lucy Westenra leading the lines of reality to blur between the living and the dead.
I could not be happier with my cast as we have a mix of new members, recent members, a youth group graduate and an old face. Along with an exceptionally talented crew, this already feels like it will be something special. Rehearsals are well underway and the freedom to make script edits, tweaks to add menace, is a welcome change that has been embraced by all in a hugely fun and collaborative process.
If you’ve seen a variety of Draculas over the years you may think you have seen them all, I can assure you this isn’t the case. As Halloween approaches, this is one to book a ticket for.