Who could blame you for thinking that tales about blood-sucking vampires nowadays seem a bit tired and trite. After all, it has been almost 120 years since Bram Stoker introduced us to Dracula. It’s no wonder we hardly fear Count Dracula anymore. And it’s hard to imagine if any theatre company could make us fear him once again.
But the Tacoma Little Theatre can.
In its entire 98-year history, the Tacoma Little Theatre has never performed any adaptation of the classic story. But the performance they’ve put on this year would make you think they did it every year.
Written by award-winning playwright Steven Dietz, the performance will make you forget entirely of sparkling vampires and number-counting muppets and remind you of their hellish origins. There is not an ounce of campiness or romantic air around Dracula. Dietz wrote pure evil into this character.
“I want your fear,” Dracula tells a victim. “For your fear, like a current, rushes through your body. Your fear makes your heart pound, it renders your veins rich and full. Your fear hemorrhages deliciously within you.”
Michael Christopher brings Dracula to (eternal) life with his strong and menacing delivery of every threatful line as well as his gentlemanly and cordial demeanor on stage. He is seen very infrequently in the first act as he is mostly alluded to by other characters, but his presence is felt even after he glides off stage.
Professor Abraham Van Helsing, played by Joseph Grant, works urgently to stop Dracula’s invasion of England and rallies the other characters to see Dracula for the hellish creature that he is. Grant’s performance brings a sense of urgency that keeps the audience engaged while Dracula is away.
If you do decide to attend, make sure you arrive early and sit in the front left-side of the auditorium to fully enjoy Brian Wayne Jansen’s performance of Renfield, Count Dracula’s imprisoned accomplice. Jansen adds a level of visceral insanity to the play that will fully convince you that this is not a run-of-the-mill performance of Dracula.
Dracula, by Steven Dietz. Directed by pug Bujeaud. Tacoma Little Theatre, 210 N I St, Tacoma, WA, Friday, Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2:00 p.m. through Nov. 6. Tickets: http://www.tix4.centerstageticketing.com/sites/tacomalittletheatre/showdates.php?s_id=124 Info: http://www.tacomalittletheatre.com/blog/2016/dracula