Director: Bill Walters
Playwright: Mac Wellman
Institution: The University of New Mexico, College of Fine Arts, U. S. A.
Venue: Experimental Theatre
Time: 14:00~16:00, May 20, 2010
Event: ATEC 5th International Forum with the 1st Asian Theatre Schools Festival
Mac Wellman is without doubt one of the most important contemporary American playwrights. He is enormously influential both as an author and an educator. His work is notoriously challenging, breaking the conventions and pushing the bounds of what is thought of as “normal” or “good” in the theatre.
What is generally thought of as “good theatre” is often judged by clarity of plot, character, theme, etc. These are the tenets of so-called “realism”. But in fact, they couldn’t be farther from the lack of clarity and unpredictability of the reality of everyday life. Mr. Wellman provides us with exciting and challenging alternatives.
His version of “Dracula” is an additionally challenging play because, while it has many of Mr. Wellman’s signature elements, it also remains extremely faithful to the original source: Bram Stoker’s novel. Thus there is a stylistic duality and the temptation to favour the familiar over the unfamiliar.
In this particular production of “Dracula”, we have chosen to split several of the characters (Mina, Lucy, and Jonathan) so that each part is played by two actors. This is entirely a directorial decision that was generously allowed by the author as a sort of experiment. But the inspiration to do so does come from the author, mainly due to the fact that in another of his pieces: “SWOOP” (which Mr. Wellman describes as his “other vampire play”) he does split the character of Mina into two aspects, namely her “higher” and “lower” natures.
Additionally, this choice is inspired by ideas of multidimensionality from quantum physics wherein it is thought that things or even people can perhaps exist in two places at the same time...... or twice in the same place. The hope is that this will create a dreamlike space and time wherein these characters can have an experience and simultaneously watch themselves having it.
Lastly, it is worth noting that in Mr. Wellman’s version of the story, Dracula escapes and travels to America, a very fitting turn of events for this quintessentially American playwright to give us.
An adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic novel that preserves the Victorian tendencies of his writing while veering wildly into new vampire territory. As Seward, head of the asylum, and his close friend Van Helsing attempt to thwart the machinations of Dracula, Lucy seeks Dracula out and Mina begins succumbing to his spell. Wickedly clever language and an often nightmarish world combine to create a Dracula unlike it's ever been seen before.