Adapted from Bram Stoker’s hugely influential 1897 novel, Liz Lochhead’s stage version of Dracula marries Stoker’s fantastic imagery with modern questions about the battle between faith and reason, sanity and madness, gender roles and women’s sexuality. Examining the relationship of women to the vampire legend, and what this means in terms of women’s relationship with men in general is certainly still relevant in 2017.
Contrasting to the title’s suggestion, Count Dracula is actually pushed to the back of the action. Instead, the play shows his effects on the humans he manipulates, from madman Renfield in a padded cell of an asylum to Lucy in the romantic garden of an estate in Whitby, growing paler by the day. Director Hanni Shinton emphasises how this allows for several very different and unique characters, that give each actor a real challenge. “Each character has a depth and flaws that highlight their humanity. There are no simpering side-line girls or classic ‘heroes’.” Lochhead’s beautiful language, filled to the brim with imagery, word-play, punning and inarticulate sounds, contributes to the psychological and sociological complexity of the characters.
First performed at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh in 1985, Dracula is taking the stage of the Art School in December, with a fantastic cast from Student Theatre at Glasgow.
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