"Hysterical, campy fun!"
- Tony Brown, cleveland.com

"Full of suspense, romance, drama and lots of laughs!"

- Dan Shaurette, Out of the Coffin podcast

This extraordinary one-act drama deftly explores the evolution of the centuries-old vampire myth.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Nightmare

Had an honest-to-God vampire nightmare last night. Only - and this is telling - I was the vampire, and I was terrified of getting caught.

I was working in collabortaion with someone, probably some kind of mentor, I cannot remember who. They had captured this plus-sized woman (Susan Boyle?) by pressing some kind of restrictive electronic bolts into her neck. I was then supposed to slash her throat open ... but I was armed with only a Phillips head screwdriver. She was all screaming and stuff and I was making these passes with the screwdriver which barely scratched her skin.

Later, I was to attack and suck the blood of a partygoer at this large, fancy, well-attended party. I was to pull them into the shadows and do my work. But I freaked out and ended up just grabbing them and running out of the party with them. At this point, I believe my intended victim was Doug Kusak, and he wasn't too bothered by my behavior because he knows me.

Huh. Why Doug? Maybe because he played a part in my other vampire play. Anyway, I was a pathetic, wimpy, scared vampire-wannabe guy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Copy

We held some informal auditions this weekend. It was very reassuring to hear how much Andrew was enjoying the material, and how much he was asking from the actors were in sync with my own feelings about these characters.

Whew!

Meanwhile, I recently had a dream that we sat down for a reading of the script, somewhere at some time, and that it suddenly occurred to me that one of my scenes was entirely plagiarized from something a contemporary of mine has written - and that she was there for the reading! Man. That was embarrassing.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Impaled

Dracula: The Un-Dead first impressions: Dracula as snuff film.

I was amused to find a passing reference to "Dr. Langella." I am also using names from other pieces of literature for non-appearing characters. It's fun.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pulp

Bella's Bookshelf
"This is a blog for discussing the classic literature that Bella Swan Cullen mentions through the course of the Twilight Saga. We will also read the type of books that I think Bella would keep on her bookshelf in the cottage, as well as the works that Stephenie Meyer used as a basis for the Twilight Saga."

Well, kids, what do we say about trash-lit that steers young people toward the classics? We call them gateway drugs, don't we? I'm all for it. Reading is reading. My six year-old just finished her first chapter book all on her own - 118 pages. She devoured it in just a couple days.

Uh, she is reading over my shoulder. Right now.

Meanwhile, I am reading Dracula: The Un-Dead. It's fun! Really! The Harkers' offspring, mentioned in the Epilogue of "The Original Classic" (oops, uh, SPOILER ALERT) is a disappointment to his parents because (wait for it ...) he wants to join THE THEATRE!

So there's that. It is far too kinky (lesbians! whips!) for me to take it very seriously, but that doesn't mean the pages aren't turning.

Meanwhile ... The Giaour ... The Giaour ... The Giaour ...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Audiobooks

Okay, so a few weeks ago I paid actual money to download an audiobook of Polidori's The Vampyre. It was worth it to listen to someone read the piece out loud, because the narrator, B.J. Harrison, emphasized things that I wouldn't have, and the pace was different for me. He does put on an affected accent which I do not believe is necessary, but it is a vampire story. It was worth two bucks.

However, if you are too cheap to spring for a semi-professional read, by all means dig into this presentation from HorrorAddicts.net - or as Host/Sad Girl Emerian Rich likes to call it, Horror Addicks. Once you get past all the ads and banter about exciting, eventually-to-be-written fanfiction, you will be treated to an auditory experience like no other.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Signs



The photo shoot for the poster was today. This is a shot Daniel took of the monitor for one of the outtakes. I could tell you what the plan is for the final design ... but I would hate to ruin the surprise.

Loving this.

I had to miss the shoot, however. Very exciting news and the certification was finally issued so I am allowed to announce it:

Twenty artists receive Creative Workforce Fellowships
January 11, 2009 - The Plain Dealer
The fellows were scheduled to have a public introduction at the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood today. "Hard work sometimes pays off," said fellowship winner and Cleveland Public Theatre's director of education Chris Seibert. (more)

Here's to 2010 being a good year.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Dracula: The Un-Dead

So, having finally finished Dracula, I picked up THE SEQUEL TO THE ORIGINAL CLASSIC - Dracula: The-Undead (and loving it.)

Not an "authorized" sequel, but as you can see it IS a SEQUEL - and not only that, but also positively a sequel of THE ORIGINAL CLASSIC. It was written by one Dacre Stoker who is an authentic great-grand nephew of Bram Stoker.

But hell, so am I. Well, no, but I think I am a great-grand nephew of Bob Dole. Seriously. It doesn't make me a Senator.

Prior to all of this mockery I did read two pages, and they are really bad. Mr. Stoker has a co-writer, too, Mr. Ian Holt, who at least has credit as a screenwriter. Mr. Stoker is a high school gym teacher.

Crystal

Had a dynamite discussion with Daniel yesterday afternoon about the reading two weeks ago. From The Count on, we are clear. Even if people are not intimately familiar with the books in question, the stakes are clear - why these things are happening, and why they are happening now.

But The Giaour is our entrance to this world, and it must be crystal clear. Daniel quote Granville-Barker, a quotation I have been searching for in its detail but it goes something like this, "Characters we don't know speaking at length about people we haven't yet met."

A Narrator says listen to me, this is important.

A man from a different time than our own begins to write in a book, and reads as he goes. His vocabulary is quite thick, he uses unfamiliar words, lots of them, addressing his sister, now speaking of a Lord - unusual names, hard to catch - and an impending journey.

Then another man enters, played by the Narrator, is that the Narrator or someone new? And is he a vampire, this is a vampire play, right? They are talking about "ruins" what does that mean?

And in this scene here, what does the younger man want from the older - and more importantly, what does the older man want from the younger man? That is a tricky one, he is supposed to be mysterious ... but as is the case with Edward Cullen, mysterious often means 1. not saying anything or 2. saying a lot of cryptic sh*t ... but not saying anything.

From the introduction of Xanthe on, Daniel feels it makes sense. Prior to that we must know precisely what is happening or we will lose people. Think of Rockynol. Think of Admiral King. Remember your audience.

"Dracula" by Bram Stoker

un⋅can⋅ny
  /ʌnˈkæni/ [uhn-kan-ee]
–adjective
1. having or seeming to have a supernatural or inexplicable basis; beyond the ordinary or normal; extraordinary: uncanny accuracy; an uncanny knack of foreseeing trouble.
2. mysterious; arousing superstitious fear or dread; uncomfortably strange: Uncanny sounds filled the house.


Spoiler Alert: There will be spoiler.

In spite of a protracted final chase sequence for which it was difficult for this reader (encumbered by matters of a domestic nature) to keep his eyes open ... for several nights ... and the conclusion, which by today's standards was a bit anti-climactic (he doesn't fight back? really? just lies there?) it was impressive to me the extent to which this novel clearly sets out a series of rules, regulations, and plot structure which have defined vampire adventures ever since.
1. Ordinary people are set upon by a creature of which they are ignorant.
2. Eccentric expert appears who knows exactly what it is and precisely how to kill it.
3. They chase down the monster and slay it, all is right with the world.
4. ... or is it?
Is this novel an indictment of Victorian values, or is this novel their champion? In particular I was delighted by Mina's final-act observation of how great it is to have lots of money - that if they did not, they wouldn't have been able to fight back against this villain at all, could not have afforded passage across the wilds of Europe, certainly not with any speed or comfort, they could not have kept warm or fed themselves. Still fresh in everyone's mind prior to the publication of this book, a serial killer murdered a number of prostitutes, and no well-funded heroes set out the avenge their deaths.

To understand any of what comes after in vampire literature, this novel must be read first. Or in my case, eventually.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Saturday, December 05, 2009

VamPR

Big P.R. pow-wow yesterday, headed by Todd with Andrew, Daniel and I in attendance. Todd and I came armed with color print-outs, I even had a sketch.

Question: How literal should the poster be? Playing off the TWILIGHT movie poster, I had mocked up a 19th century (see: Louis de Pointe du Lac) in for Edward and a goth-chick Bella.

This begs the question - in what way are we to attract fans of the book Twilight? I would like nothing more than to have teenagers attend the outreach tour with the promise of vampire romance. At the same time, we do not want to give the impression that this is a Twilight story, that it is that story or some kind of fan-fictionesque knock-off.

Some suggestions were humorous, and my concern there is if people are expecting a broad vampire-parody (see: Bat Boy: The Musical) they may be disappointed. Not that the play isn't humorous, it is. But I wouldn't call it a comedy.

We need to solidify something by Monday,. the photo shoot is scheduled for Friday. Meanwhile, there is a production meeting on Tuesday, and I am hoping to have a new draft available by Monday.

Wikipedia: The Grand Tour

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

PUMPKINROT.COM

This is a great one.
Three Of A Kind
They couldn’t wait to be old enough to get their very own chokers.

Posted using ShareThis

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The (American) Cure

A vampire is dead. Life has departed it, one is an animated corpse. The act of attacking a living creature, ripping its flesh to drink its blood - such a cliche, think about it, to suck the blood out of a human being, to sustain its own life ... a vein or an artery is not a drinking straw. Try pulling the liquid from a sponge with your mouth - forget the fangs for a moment, imagine what you need to do with your lips, drawing blood - dark, pungent blood - from another human's body, into your mouth, down your throat, so you may live another night.

How do you cure that? You can defeat a vampire, kill it, destroy its body in a number of proscribed ways. But how do you make something not what it is? How do you take a dead body and give it life, make it "normal" again? That's the Frankenstein story, isn't it? And how successful did that go?

Where did it first become a thing to cure vampirism?

I was listening to a podcast today where they had a "round table discussion" on The Lost Boys. The participants were maybe a half-decade or ten years younger than I. The Goonies generation. People my age were already well into high school when Goonies came out, and most of us thought it was pretty rank. Corey Feldman was great, absolutely fabulous in Stand By Me, I will give you that, everything after that is just vomit-making. My friends-who-are-slightly-younger love that flick. And The Lost Boys was made for them.

I was in college when that came out. It's insufferable. It is fun, but it is insufferable. I like Jason Patric, especially in his later work (Rush, Your Friends and Neighbors) but meeting him here for the first time I just figured Rob Lowe had turned the script down. And yes, Keifer is sexy fun ... even with a mullet.

But the Coreys? Grampa? Dianne Wiest wasted as a painfully stupid single-mother stereotype? And of course, there's the whole kill-the-head-vampire-and-you-become-human-if-you've-never-drank-blood-yet thing.

Maybe, if you kill the head vampire, all vampire children perish, I might buy that - see: The Vampire Chronicles. If vampirism is an ancient spirit being passed around, then yes, that makes sense. But you're dead. Because you are dead. Because some vampire drank your blood - you were drained of what keeps you alive and that killed you and you are being kept alive by something else but you are a dead thing.

Some say vampirism became a metaphor for AIDS in the 80s, and hence we longed for a cure (and by the way, I hope you had a good World AIDS Day) but I am not buying it. Vampirism can be a metaphor for being gay, to be sure, anything "outsider" metaphor works for that, especially stylish outsiders, even those with mullets. But I think it is more sinister - or mundane - than that. It's the American film idea that any story, every story, should have a happy ending. The puritanical idea that evil gets vanquished and that good is rewarded. If you were bad, but repent, you can be made whole again. A very simple, child-like idea.

And it makes for crap vampire stories.

Because sometimes, death happens. Sometimes people must be held accountable for their actions. And sometimes death comes to those who do not deserve it, most of the time really. It's the sad reality of life. And it goes back to the old myths. An animal jumped over your open grave, you're a vampire. Sorry. You were attacked in an alley by a vampire and several nights later you rise from your grave to feed off the blood of small children. Happens. These stories are supposed to be f*cking scary. Providing an out robs them of any potency, to me.

Don't get me started on "sucking the venom out" that doesn't even work with snakes it's something they tell people to make them think there is something you can actually do, you can't, it's venom not bubble tea you can't just suck it back out.

I liked it better when vampire stories had irrevocable consequences. And don't get me started on Jami Gertz.
LoveVampires: Review of Polidori's "The Vampyre"

Monday, November 30, 2009

Out of the Coffin Podcast

LATER: My own brother! A g-d damn, sh*t-sucking vampire!

EVEN LATER: Apparently, Edward Cullen's face is perfect.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Engagement

Most notes, thoughst on the first reading ...

THE GIAOUR
This first section is quite unlike the rest. Honestly, I am thinking of making the third and fourth parts most different from each other, which they already are only less apparently so because each are "contemporary." But it remains that this adaptation of Polidori's The Vampyre was a stretch, to use a great deal of archaic vocabulary to set the tone, the era, etc. It borrows the most from its source than the others - but then, it is the least well-known of the the four.

Can there be less exposition, more showing, less telling? What is this "bond" Aubrey agrees to, and for what purpose and to what end? Put a different way, how can it be made clearer that he is inviting disaster through his choices, that he has broken promises, than he has brought this onto himself?

Can that be made clear at the end - can Lucy show him how he deserved what he got?

Does Darvell look better when we last see him? And if so, why?

The Giaour - Emotion and Engagement. Yes.

The World Is a Vampire

Another Sexy Boy Vampire Playlist
Supermassive Black Hole - Muse
Bullet With Butterfly Wings - Smashing Pumpkins
Reckoner - Radiohead
Do You Want To - Franz Ferdinand
Brand New Colony - The Postal Service
The Sound of Settling - Death Cab for Cutie
Chelsea Dagger - The Fratellis
All I Need - Radiohead
Breakeven - The Script
Wake Up - Arcade Fire
No Surprises - Radiohead
Great DJ - The Ting Tings
Blue Light - Bloc Party
Mrs. Robinson (interlude) - Simon & Garfunkel
Walcott - Vampire Weekend

I think I figured out the Twilight Hate ... listening to today's playlist - which was generated by the GENIUS feature of iTunes - I realized that today's plump and balding Gen X-er's are hellapissed that vampires are no longer GOTH. I mean, vampires pre-existed Goth culture - Goth was an offspring of vampire culture, to be sure - but any mother can produce varied children. Today's "vampires" descend not from Peter Murphy and and Poopy Z. Brite, but from a different branch of the family tree.

From the bourgeois, from white trash, from America - not Europe. They are no longer pretentious. They are the kind of ordinary embraced by, well, Sarah Palin supporters. They aren't special. They are repressed. They are Puritan.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Distance: 6.15 miles
Temperature: 50º
Weather: cool and clear
Pavement: Uneven

A weekend at the rents, my brother and his family are in town from Minnesota. It's a big, small child weekend in Lakewood (missing the fifteen year-old in London whose birthday is today!) Took that lap around the west side of town ... West Side of Cleveland, that is, the run is the length of Lakewood and back, usually I go down Lake and Clifton, this time it was the other way 'round.

My right arm aches, I can only imagine it is from poor weight training. Every now and then I use it, but these day I mostly don't. In my imagination I do sit-ups, but in the real world, I don't. Josh told me about a study that indicated that thinking about exercise can actually be as effective as doing it. Well. Works for him (Ooh! That stings! Good night, Cleveland!)

Tomorrow, by the way, I will be performing on the stage of Severance Hall, playing Dvorak as we explain the origins of the New World Symphony. Come and check it out, it's fun.

Anyway, my arm hurts. I hope tonight's physical activity helps. Now back to eating like hell.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Okay, now that's funny.



(Thanks to G.A. for facebooking this one.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

First Reading

Arc One: 12 minutes
Arc Two: 14 minutes
Arc Three: 14 minutes
Arc Four: 12 minutes

Total: 52 minutes

Not bad, not really. Listening to it, I got a bit sleepy during certain extended passages. There will be cutting, no doubt. But certain questions ... I am getting ahead of myself.

In attendance at the reading yesterday; from the Unit - SG, DM, FS, EC & ES. From Great Lakes - Daniel and Esther, who will be designing the costumes. Andrew was unavailable, we previous believed a Monday would make him available, but as this is a holiday weekend, they could rehearse Christmas Carol on a Monday, and the director is kind of necessary there, too. However, if I were to have asked a single designer to be there, it would be the costumer. She is going to be creating more of the set than the set designer.

Terry would have been nice ... props ... but the Schubert is small and after all, this was supposed to b a Unit event, not a production meeting for GLTF.

The rehearsal on Sunday really paid off, the actors truly sold it, there was nothing about the reading about which I could point to during notes to say, "WELL ... the actors just SAID it wrong!!!"

Notes weren't difficult, anyway. Jesus, the two days I've had, I need people to stop saying nice things about me, I'll pop.

Brian really pressed the NARRATOR's earnestness, I need to keep that voice in my head as I rewrite his entreaties.

Eddie can be even looser in INTERVIEW ... "You dare?!" is a bit pennydreadful, he could say "Are you kidding?!" It is 1985, after all.

Hearing the play as a whole, FS was the first to state that the connections between scenes work, that the connections are wonderful. Several remarked that the concept works - having distinct styles between scenes, and yet having them be one complete narrative, was fun to hear, and not confusing.

Most criticism dealt with GIAOUR. FS said the language is too dense - "Poetry that hasn't been earned yet." SG commented that unlike the later pieces, there is no suspense. Just a couple of guys, what is the tension between the two of them, where does it come from? It is not clear.

ES pointed out that know we know what happens to XANTHE, perhaps her part can be enlarged, the romantic attraction can given more attention.

Brian believes it is anout the society mores of seduction - AUBREY desperately wants to seduce Xanthe the right way, but no that he has seen DARVELL's cavalier attitude, there is frustration in that. The "gaming" argument? There's no danger yet.

DM mentioned the fact that PORLOCK later says, "I loved him." Where was that in the 1st scene?

SG was concerned that people will be confused by the NOSFERATU arc ... having been pitched on actor/character switch, will are they expecting this to be a different scene? And why does Porlock become this grostesquery, it is not clear.

DM suggested LUCY's blog entries are too formal for a seventeen year-old, though ES disagreed, the Internet is where people write like that. FS: "On the Internet, no one knows you're a vampire."

Or that you aren't one, as the case may be.

I asked if it felt like I was mocking TWILIGHT. No, they agreed, TWILIGHT exists to mock convention, and I am playing off that.

Asking about the different endings, those who were familiar with it felt the "insane" narrator was more compy fun. If it is who it was in this reading ... then why? Why out yourself? Pulling a Lestat, I said. "HERE I AM! COME GET ME! IT WILL BE A GREAT WAR!"

Very heplful comments, all. A lot to think about. I may have time to work on this over the weekend, and get a clean copy to Andrew by December 1st.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Crazy

Today is just crazy. And the crazy will keep going, and deep. until the weekend is over, actually.

Which sucks, it being Thanksgiving and all.

The reading today went swimmingly, as did some other things. I will detail this all eventually.

It's late. Caught up on the end of Project Runway. Must sleep, hope the children stay in their own beds tonight.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Anticipation

We gathered this afternoon to rehearse tomorrow's reading.

The Playwrights Unit meets once every two weeks during "the season" (September to May) to share 10 pages of whatever it is we are working on. If we want a period of time devoted to a single, complete work, then that is scheduled for another time, usually between regular meetings.

The playwright is responsible for putting together the actors, the stage direction reader, a director if necessary though in most cases, at this stage we are our own directors. SG can help if we need suggestions.

I have seen readings at the table, or stood up with music stands in the case of musicals with a live piano player. They are as fancy as we wanna be.

So today Brian (older man), Chris (younger man), Caitlin (woman) and Cat (stage directions) and I read through the play. It was a matter of making sure all was clear, that it was going to be "sold" properly to the assembled.

Not that I need to sell it to anyone, it's pretty much a done deal - it will be done. But I need frank feedback on what works, what does not, what is unnecessary, the length, etc. We could not get duration today, not with the starting, stopping and background. Daniel will be present, and Andrew, who will direct. Others from the office have been invited, a designer, our marketing guy. I do not know if they will show.

I know DM will attend, and SG. I have confirmation from ES as well, the others I do not know. This is the first time I have had a special scheduled reading for a new work. And this is fabulous. Last spring, I did not believe I could ever write anything ever again.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Comic

I read Interview and Lestat in pretty rapid succession. They came at an interesting time - when I was performing the part of John (William?) Polidori in Howard Brenton's Bloody Poetry. I can't recall what kind of research I did into the character at that time, or if I even read The Vampyre then or later. But it was a Gothic time.

I am sure we watched Gothic.

So, anyway, I was reading these novels over the fall and winter of 1988/89. They were sexy fun, but also put me into a deeply troubled state of mind. I mean, I was already in a deeply troubled state of mind, verging on suicidal (or at least unhappily conflicted about the value of living) and so the idea of becoming something completely else, especially something so attractive and adventurous, was distinctly appealing.

Vampires in all these stories are cute. There's a reason for that. Well, Not Dracula, at least not originally.

My memory is that I enjoyed Lestat so much more than Interview. Reading Lestat was like a dam breaking open. He's right! Louis is a f*cking whiner! And how couldn't he see what a totally amazing guy Lestat was, man - even a vampire can be shallow and short-sighted, who knew?

The graphic novel adaptation came out in the early 90s. I just picked up my copy, which I have not opened in well over ten years, to reacquaint myself with the book (I re-read Interview last month.) I almost couldn't get past the first few pages. All Lestat's praise of 1980s rock - his desire to be a rock star - is truly embarrassing.

And I never want to read the phrase "succulent little tough cookie" again.

But once the story delves into the past I am reminded of why it was originally compelling and now I am enjoying it again.

LATER: Hey, I just remembered ... I had a cassette of the audiobook of Lestat, narrated by Michael York. (Never get an abridged audiobook, by the way, they're terrible.) I can't remember what impression hearing him speak these words aloud made, but he could not have made the phrase "succulent little tough cookie" any more bearable, no matter what your affection for Tybalt might be.

Saw Mr. York last spring, at the 2009 Creative Voices Summit last May. What a nice man, and hugely modest, he kept referring to other actors he'd worked with and how he suffered in comparison to them

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sprockets

February, 1995: My (first) wife had left a month earlier, at the beginning of the year. I took the Lakeshore Limited to New York to visit my girlfriend, she worked in the legendary Broadway & 81st branch of Shakespeare & Co., which is unfortunately no longer with us.

I was writing a play, a different play about vampires. Most of it was composed on my new PowerBook 150, the last of the monochromatic Apple laptops. Sitting in Cafe lalo, waiting for her to get off work, I was very self-conscious about sitting there in the corner, tapping away on a computer. "Oh, look at me. I have a laptop and I'm using it in public." I was afraid someone who worked there would come up and say, you can't just plug in an appliance in our coffeeshop. It was 1995.

She gave me a galley proof of a book called Throat Sprocketsby Tim Lucas, an exciting and upsetting book, not about vampires but about vampiric tendencies.

Let me see if I can remember ... there's the underground porn film (there could never again be such a thing) that features neck biting. It becomes a sensation, there's an underclass of young people who bite each others' necks. I remember a minister or a priest suggesting that there's a generation of young people who do not know the fear, horror, privation of war, and that they have found a new way of experiencing that.

It was 1995.

Man, what cold a February. Standing on the platform with her, waiting five minutes for a train, the air was so still and frigid (sub-freezing for several days in a row) I stood in fear that if the air moved even slightly it would remove a layer of skin. Her apartment was very warm.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Proof TWILIGHT is a real vampire story:

"The hair is 75% of my performance." - Robert Pattinson

Actually, Twilight is not a vampire story. It's a teen novel. I am reading it, for real, now. And it reads like a teen novel, so that's what it is. There's nothing wrong with that - what amuses me is how big, burly guys get all bent out of shape, raging against the twilight, protesting it's not a real vampire story.

It's not. It's not for you. It's not for me either ... but I'm readin' it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Silly

"Once I was what you feared. Today I am what you desire. Tomorrow I’ll be handing out candy."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

WHAT ARE YOU ????????

The past few days I have had the chance to talk over the script with those who will be participating in the reading. Here's the question - what attacks Aubrey Porlock in the first arc?

Not who. That is evident when you read the play. But what? It that a vampire? How does Aubrey become what he is?

This is the story of the evolution of the vampire, or how what we think of when we think of vampires came into being.

They did not use to glimmer. But then, they did not always burn to a crisp in the daylight, nor did they always become a vampire from drinking the blood of another vampire.

Once upon a time, the words witch and vampire were exchangeable. So, too, was the idea of a ghost or a revenant - an animated corpse. The rules were flexible. They were evil, unholy, they could curse you, or drink your blood. Did they need the blood to survive? Who knows. Did they like Peter Murphy? They don't say.

Like a werewolf, there were beings who walked as human during the day, but the power of the moon would change them. I believe we have a being like this in this play. The rules bend as the years progress. But it all goes back to the power of the night to scare us, and transform us into our worst nightmares.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Monday, November 09, 2009

Raven

A couple years ago, my wife got a book out of the library for me, written by an associate of hers in one of her writers groups. She thought I might like it, it is a collection of two stories that have to do with vampires or vampirism. But that's not why she thought I would like it.

One of the stories, The Flesh, The Blood and The Fire is a (fictional) tale about Eliot Ness's time as Safety Director in Cleveland. It - of course - has to deal with the Torso Murders. One day someone will write a compelling story about Eliot Ness in Cleveland. This may even be it, I don't know, for some reason I didn't read it.

I read the other one, Raven, a contemporary cop story with a vampire twist. A great deal of it takes place on Coventry, my old stomping grounds (did I just say that? hmn. if I have stomping grounds, I guess that's where they are ... or in Tremont - I stomped there even more ...) though a lot of places it references aren't there any more, but he did really nail them.

It lays out some fabulous new vampire rules - I was truly freaked out by what happens when a vampire is exposed to sunlight. I mean, if you are completely exposed to sunlight, you basically become what you are - a corpse, dead flesh. But what if just, you know, your hand is exposed to sunlight.

(Think about. Count to three. SHUDDER.)

We discuss rules a little in my play. There may be some confusion. This is not a bad thing. I have tried to avoid the serial villain route where things are just spelled out for you.

We're working on putting together a reading of it for the 23rd. I already have BP and CL on board to be two of the three performers. Still looking for a dashing young man. (Sorry, Brian.)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Dusk

Okay, here's some nice Twilight cakes.

"It's cute." That's the first thing SG said when we reached the end. I think I deserved that.

The fourth arc was read by the Unit today. The overall reaction was positive, I received a few comments, primarily from SG, regarding the piece as a whole.

The comments that surfaced last session, after we read The Interview, were reinforced this time. Why does the contemporary stuff work better, feel more original, are simply more enjoyable? The answer may - be because they are contemporary, accessible.

Maybe I need to make the language of the earlier pieces more modern ... but the point is to share the flavor of literature at that time. Maybe the later pieces should be less original, more like their source material ...

Another observation was on how much commenting is done in the second two pieces, there is little or no commentary in the earlier ones (this cannot be true, The Count has its tongue firmly in cheek.)

The Narrator, whose agenda is a secret until the end, may need to be more obviously contemporary, from the beginning, for this to fly.

Regarding the final arc, The Dusk ... First off, SG noted that Eddie's revelation that he is a vampire has no mystery, it comes too quickly and easily.

I have to check the book again. I think it comes pretty quickly and easily there, too. Right? I mean, he doesn't try and kill Bella, she doesn't catch him feeding off an antelope ... she figures it out, confronts him, he admits it. Am I missing something? I mean, I am agreeing with SG here, there is no mystery - it's TWILIGHT.

DM was tipped off as to who Lucy is by her last name, but most missed it. So I'm sticking with it.

FS thinks North Pole, Alaska is a silly sounding location. I think she's right.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Seattle Snark



For a snarky Daily Show rip-off ... this is pretty fun.

LATER: And okay, yeah, even CAKE WRECKS gets in on the action. Hating on TWILIGHT is just too damn easy.

Got it.

School collapse.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

…away with you and your “technology”!

The problem with the narrator conceit and all of his annotations and research is that the artifacts of his early history are tangible - something you can easily pick up, handle and read. A diary, a newspaper clipping, a letter.

The third arc works very well because it is an actual interview, which is being recounted. One artifact, performed.

In the final piece he must return - for he cannot simply disappear, that would be bad form - but the artifacts are blogs and ... well, that one works, I show Lucy writing her blog. And there is a newspaper article, there are still print newspapers if only for another year or two.

(Side note: TKT criticized the newspaper style I wrote in, stating that the lede is the third "graph" when it should be - duh - the first. I told her I had used a real newspaper article as my guide. Super-side note: Blogger does not recognize the proper spelling of the word "lede" which should also tell you something.)

But I need a third piece, to cover something which cannot be performed onstage. I wanted it to be an amateur YouTube video of the bike stunt gone horribly wrong - but there's no way we can incorporate video into the outreach tour, so I thought it could just be the audio, but that's not making me happy at all. I'm thinking of making it an NPR spot.\\God, wouldn't it be hilarious if I could get Dan Moulthrop to cut it?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Clarity

Bless me, the stars come into alignment.

Daniel had a lot of red ink on the first scene, and much less as the play went on. I would like to think that means he got swept up in the story, and just couldn't raise his red pen again until he'd finished. Or maybe it's because the first scene is really awful and difficult to follow and I need to get rid of it.

Truth is, he really likes that scene, loves the language, the style - but there are many opportunities for an audience me be confused. Some things (like to main character's NAME) need to be made much more obvious up-front. Aubrey reads a letter, who is it front? About whom is the writer writing? If Aubrey picks up a diary and reads, is it his own diary, or someone else's? What is going on?

It is not a bad thing to force the audience to listen hard. But Lady Mercer, who is she? And so on.

Cool. I can work with that.

Don't forget, everyone but Americans write Date-Month-Year.

Why the Giaour? Why does he ask for that story?

We tripped through The Count sequence, the main question is - is this story so close to one everyone knows so well (or do they ..?) that the changes will confuse them?

In The Interview - can Eddie have greater responsibility for his brother's death? In this case - though Daniel does not object to the Kent State reference - it is passive enough as to not incur enough guilt. (Speaking of which - there's an article in today's Times about teenage runaways selling sex for security.) Guilt is a strong motivator. And it is what moves Louis in Rice's book.

Now ... as the piece becomes contemporary, Daniel suggest I spell certain things out a little less obviously. We are, after all, taking this into schools. Even using the words "sex" or "Jesus Christ" makes him nervous. I understand. And I can work with that.

And yes, I need to read Twilight. The whole thing.

Finally ... how to kill Porlock. I liked my idea, pulling his heart out, but it smacked Daniel of a scene from Temple of Doom. Grisly ... and stupid. However, he also freaked out at Porlock's description of surviving on the ship - biting down on a 'hapless rat.' That's good. I'm keeping that.

Monday, October 26, 2009

supervisor WIN!!!

My fears allayed, Daniel likes the script. I think this play is actually going to be the GLTF outreach touring play for 2010.

Whew.

Daniel

My boss has read the script. Now we are going to chat. As you hear of me, so think of me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Drafted

First draft down, it feels so good to have this stage wrapped up. There is so much missing, I think, but I cannot include absolutely everything. It's an education piece AND an entertainment, I m at once fearful of being didactic, but then I need to make the point of each segment clear. Clear to understand not only WHO and WHAT (these most concerned Daniel - we don't want to confuse the audience) but also WHY. Not the characters' WHY, but mine. Why are we doing this? Why vampires? What is the point?

I think I have that, or at least enough to get the ball rolling.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

In Search of Dracula

Desire

Have you ever had that dream where there's an extra wing on your house you didn't know was there? And it's the greatest place in the world, everything you've ever wanted is right there. When I was a child, it was filled with toys and candy. But now, whenever I turn the corner - it's just him. Have you ever wanted something so badly you can't tell if the wanting or the having will destroy you first?

Edwin

How to describe the longing ... for warmth, for friendship or any kind. The day-long night, interrupted by the slightest touch of sunlight. It just bobs, for a moment, and slinks away. I want to scream, "No! Come back! Who are you? Must you go? Do you hate me that much?"

I met a boy. He's different. And I think I make him sick.

Plans

I will have two hours this afternoon, dedicated to completing this script. Two hours. I have most of the pieces parts for the final scene ... it is so hard to finish with Twilight and be serious. Everything else is so hard-core ... but it's hard-core cheese, isn't it? I mean ... I'm writing about vampires.

Ends are neatly tied, because people will want that. Secrets are revealed, because people will want that. But knowing the end makes it difficult to write the beginning (of this one scene.) Each subsequent scene has been harder than the last, I guess that is to be expected. How to make Dracula follow naturally from The Vampyre, and so on. I am glad they have a unifying thread, rather than just disparate one-acts.

Two hours. To think like a teenage girl.

Hate is an angry thing. Hate destroys everything. Hate is the absence of all kindness, sympathy and understanding. If you are upset, be specific about what is bothering you. Please do not use the word "hate." - Pengo's pedantic advice to a small child.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happiness

And have you ever wanted something so badly
that it possessed your body & your soul
through the night & through the day
until you finally get it!
And then you realize that it wasn't what you wanted after all.
And then those selfsame sickly little thoughts
now go & attach themselves to something....
....or somebody....new!
And the whole goddamn thing starts all over again.

- The The, "True Happiness This Way Lies"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Midnight sun

This is a shout-out to all the lonely people, the dark, the melancholy, the possessed. My life has been inverted, someone reached down into my throat and pulled me inside out. Mom died, that’s it, and I was packed off to be with my dad. It took a day to make the journey from Hawaii to Alaska, but it feels like I have already been dead a lifetime.

My home ... what has been my home, a little island, perhaps, but wrapped around it the many climates of the earth, volcanic, balmy, constant showers, desert, rainforest, everything - but cold. Not cold, never cold. No walls, no windows, and every space a contour, undulating, constant motion in the stillness of one tiny hunk of lava.

But here. Flat, hard, grey and still. Even the wind, which is constant, is still. The people, too, each one owning their own truck - flat, grey, hard and still. Flat, grey faces. I am searching for signs of life in North Pole, Alaska.

I have never felt so far from everywhere.

Piano

Listening to the Twilight soundtrack tonight - the score, not the rock songs. Carter Burwell. What do you know, he's written the score for some of my favorite movies of the past fifteen years, and I never knew his name.

I had to pick it up because I was enjoying the piano themes in the movie. It was surprising to me, though it shouldn't have been, the music I have been choosing as inspiration for this script. Ludovico Einaudi. Philip Glass. Erik Satie. A descending cascade of single notes, simple melancholy.

And I cannot write. I mean, I have been writing, in spurts, for several days. I know how this must end, and knowing makes it so much more trite - I wish I had written all the way up to the end, and THEN realized the secret. I didn't even know there was a secret. And it's a doozy - thankfully, because I hadn't thought of it until now.

Check this: Musings of a High School Vampire. It's really bad. It's so bad, I don't believe a high schooler wrote it, it's like a terrible adult writer trying to write like a high school students.

Which is what I am patently avoiding doing. Right now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Meaning of "Xanthe"
Greek name

In Greek, the name Xanthe means- blonde, yellow. The name Xanthe orginated as an Greek name. The name Xanthe is most often used as a girl name or female name.

Greek Meaning - blonde, yellow
Origin - Greece

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rights

Well ... the Unit liked it.

I was most concerned about this piece, because though it is inspired by events in Interview, it is the most original part of the story to date. I was feeling really insecure about it.

So what do you know, they found it the most original part of the story to date. You know, in that good way.

SG said it was confident, that it was really mine, and not so much like an adaptation, the way the previous scenes are.

FS felt that if Eddie were truly reticent about providing information (see: only seven questions) he warmed up too fast. DM suggested it may be a game he's playing and he likes how the interviewer is playing it - but it's a good point, making it clear that Eddie is enjoying the interviewers questions would help.

MG approved of Eddie's candor and his clear voice. FS thought the ending was quite a surprise, which it won't really be to people familiar with Rice's novel.

Which brings us to SG's concern about rights. Is this telling too close to Interview? Is it a rip-off or an homage? EC was quick to point out (somewhat cheekily) that this is an educational tour, but it begs the question. What are the parameters of satire, homage, parody, tribute - god forbid, fan fiction.

I have to say, I really, really enjoy SG's voice for Porlock.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Vocabulary

Sin, society, pestilence, propriety.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Evolution of the Vampire
We look at the cinema history of the bloodsucking undead
- Empire Magazine

Okay, so ... not exactly an original title. But I'm working it.

Forgiveness

Wrapped up Arc Three. Not entirely satisfied with the ending, but then this is not the end. I went back over the story as Porlock tells it ... this is very challenging, trying to give it a whiff of Rice's novel, but not an overpowering one. I have to keep asking myself the questions - why this book, how does it fit, how is it different?

The answer, because we are used to this kind of vampire tale, may not be obvious. But how much more clearer can it be - the vampire was not the main character in the first two, he is a monster who invades, and here he is the central character, to be sympathized with, to be identified with. Maybe even to be pitied.

And now ... teen stuff.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dork Shadows

Barnabas Collins: Scary.
Jonathan Frid: Creepy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How Tom Hanks decided to be an actor

"My other friends from junior high school were doing the plays, and I saw my friend in one of the plays and I thought, you mean you get to do this in school? It was Dracula, in which Dr. Van Helsing suddenly became Dr. Fong, because we had a, you know, an Asian -- the vampire expert Dr. Fong was in to talk about how to kill Dracula, and I just thought that looked like the most fun you could ever possibly have, so the next year I started doing that ..."

- Backstage with Tom Hanks, 10/12/09

At night ... we sleep.

I watched maybe an hour of TWILIGHT last night.

IT'S ... SO ... BORING ...

I mean, painfully boring. I was into it for awhile, I was getting it, I saw the attraction - until the time came for Edward to "come out" as a vampire to Bella. The confession, that ridiculous bit where he puts her on his back and heh, runs up the hill - you know, rilly, rilly fast ...

I'm sorry, it was cheesy beyond belief. God, I try to be all sensitive and open-minded ... that thing is CRAP.

I know everyone makes fun of the shimmering thing, too, I thought that was unfair - until I saw it. Oh sweet Jesus, vampires are dark, evil, blood-eating, non-human monsters. They don't shine in the sunlight. They die in the f*cking sunlight, or they aren't vampires. If you are a blood-sucking fiend that shines like a penny in the sunlight, then you are a Mormon or something.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fang Hag

What's Really Going on With All These Vampires? - Esquire

Vampires pop up at certain moments in history ? Thank you for bolstering my argument.

Tonight I watch TWILIGHT. Pray for me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Interviewer: What happens now? Is this when I become a vampire?

Eddie: No. This is when you die.
There. Got that out of my system. Now I don't have to use it in the script.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Outside, it is America.

And now, The Interview.

The pieces of this puzzle came to me yesterday, or maybe Monday (I am addled with a nasty headcold - is there any other kind?) It the most challenging part, and the furthest from its source material. The fledgling must be more recently made, most likely American, young - and yet, we need to approximate the scene near the end of the novel in the abandoned house in the Garden District.

The previous two arcs were created by hitting the most important scenes, and then bridging with "documentation." This scene I am more or less writing from beginning to end, leaping bits that have not come into focus yet.

It is also frightfully (heh) difficult to break out of the vernacular of the previous installments, I keep going back and simplifying syntax and creating contractions.

The scene has a surprising bit of me in it. I mean, of my personal history. And what may or may not be an uncomfortable amount of recent world history in it, and by recent I mean not two hundred years ago. What do Kent State and Hurricane Katrina have to do with each other? Wait and see ...

It is currently a pleasing, violent, dirty mess to write. I will clean it up.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Clarity

Yes, calrity. What I like to think of as the "mystery" in my work, others call "confusing" or "obtuse" or - as CF put it, "you're so weird."

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to bounce this piece off people as I go along. Having the Vampyre piece pull into focus helped inform the Dracula chapter, and so on. So much exposition, so little time. But people are being pulled along, and that's good, too.

TKT had a few questions regarding both chapters together;
As a muslim, why is Xanthe Greek and not, say Turkish?

If Aubrey is abandoned in what is now modern-day Turkey, it would make more sense that he finds his way to Romania.

Will what happened in the cabin ever become clear - because now it is not.
No, what happens in the cabin is not yet clear. But one day it will be - hopefully in the 1980s. We'll see.

She also wanted to know what the Narrator's agenda is - does he have character? Is he a character? Why this obsession with vampires, and why is he telling us all this?

At the Unit today we read the Dracula arc.
London should be mentioned up front.

It is not clear Jonathan is setting out to get Porlock. (He leaves and we never see him again.)

If I want Anti-semitism to stand out (in particular, as opposed to general xenophobia or race-hatred) I need a bigger hammer.
MO pressed me for the rules so many months ago, and I have begun to provide them. But he also impressed upon me the need not to play safe with the rules - he was them to "derail" somehow.

MG is familiar with The Vampyres: A Play - both versions, I think - and wants to know why I, personally, want to return to this. What are the personal relationships in this tale which spell that out?

MO wants more blood, and more bodies. I informed him we are creating this for a) Catholic girls schools and b) assisted living facilities. He doesn't care, he wants more blood.

I'll work on that.

Rape

Folklore describes numerous ways to become a vampire - like an animal leaping over your corpse. That's not fair, but maybe the Devil has something to do with it. Maybe it is just a sign that you already are one.

I was not aware, however, as I am reading Dracula for the first time (yes, it's true) that Stoker clearly defined drinking the blood of an existing vampire as the sure and true way to become one. Of all the tropes Anne Rice discarded, she stuck fast to this one - in fact, it defines The Vampire Chronicles.

What I was not prepared for was the surprisingly graphic nature of the scene where the menfolk 1) discover Dracula pressing Mina's face to his naked breast and 2) where the discuss the act right in front of her. I am shocked now, a hundred an twelve years ago, people must have fainted.

Because unlike the earlier business with Lucy, or even Dracula first visiting Mina in her room, it's all metaphoric enough to get through without feeling queasy. But this part is a direct sexual assault, it's sexual violence, and more than anything it defined to me the Count as a monster, and not merely an "other" or himself a metaphor for an outsider. Yes, this even after crushing Renfield's spine.

And all of the men standing around, simultaneously comforting Mina and at the same time shaming her by their reaction to what has happened, making her describe it in front of all of them. Later still, Van Helsing casually mentioning the "big meal" Dracula has had and how he will sleep late. Thoughtless. The woman needs counseling, and these bozos are not doing it for her.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Truly disturbing

Pre-Nazi German Anti-Semitism in the First Vampire Movie

Nosferatu (1921) Class Movie Review

Stormfront.com review
Murnau may have plagiarized Nosferatu's Count Orlock from Bram Stoker's Dracula; however, it can be argued that Bram Stoker plagiarized Dracula from Jewish identity.

A challenge, on my life

Dracula in ten pages. Good luck with that.

The book? The play? The film - and if so, which one?

Let's try to cram all of them in there.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Evolution of the Script

Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here.

The plan has changed, instead of a one-act based on The Vampyre, we now strive for aone-act made of three ten-minute plays, each based on one classic vampire story from the past two hundred years. Polidori's story is now the first part, and I have given myself the freedom to alter the narrative as I choose, to make the whole work.

I have produced a first draft of this brief ten-to-fifteen minute section. And unlike my last pass by the Unit, which was all about my work's incoherence and confusion, this time it was met with positive support, interest and a great deal of helpful criticism.

Change in Names:
Ruthven is now Darvell. Darvell was Byron's name from the fragment of a novel he abandoned. I returned to Byron's work to create a lot of the language for the letters from Aubrey.

Aubrey is now Aubrey Porlock. In Polidori's tale, he has no full name, he is simply Aubrey. The name "Porlock" came to me in a dream ... no, that's a joke. Porlock was what I felt was an unfortuante amalgam of Poliori and Orlock - Orlock the name of the vampire in the film Nosferatu. What my wife reminded me that Coleridge was interrupted by a person from Porlock as he composed Kubla Khan.
Unit comments:

SG: Great language and atmopshere. Unclear: The custom of young British men of means making their journey "On the Continent." It will also help contrast the stark final letter from Aubrey if his early missives are more exuberant and enthusatsic - more young, optimistic and hopeful.

SG: Some passages are difficult, keeping in mind the advanced youth and/or age of the target audience (isn't that weird? theater written for both teenagers and senior citizens) you do not want them to "tune out."
DM: The challenge is to keep the tone and the flavor with out zoning out - simplify the language.

SG: The narrator figure should be more contemporary, someone for the audience to hang onto.

MG: We need permission to laugh early on.
ES: This will keep it from sliding into melodrama.

SG: Beginning with the young man may create a connection to a young audience.

DH found a quote from Dracula that might make for a good title or subtitle: The Dark Side of Twilight. Given the path my characters will take over the four short stories presented my original title was Evolution of the Vampire. Provocative. Educational.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

RUTHVEN: A Tale

Presented a few pages to the folks at the playwrights unit yesterday. Discovered a few legitimate concerns regarding a potential adaptation for Polidori's THE VAMPYRE.

1. The story follows Aubrey, so he is never present when the vampire strikes. Michael, who loves vampire stories, wants to see some blood.

2. MO also reminded me that all vampire tales clearly set out their RULES. After all, even I know what happens to vampires from Twilight in the daylight.

The fact that this is the first modern vampire story - ever - means a lot of what people take for granted about vampires, especially their weaknesses, are taken for granted. If those rules are not followed, it is extremely confusing.

In fact, the first time it was clearly stated that sunlight is deadly to a vampire wasn't until Nosferatu.

3. What is Ruthven's "kryptonite"? According to the story, he doesn't have one. Not garlic, not mirrors, not daylight, not sleeping in his native earth, nothing.

4. SG inquired about Ruthven's "arc". Again, he doesn't have one. It's not his story, he's just the monster, it's Aubrey's story. And because no one reading the tale knows what a vampire is, the mystery lies in discovering Ruthven is one - and what that means.

Which brings me to perhaps the most majestic change I believe I need to make to this adaptation - the title. I believe it needs to be something other than THE VAMPYRE, because that is so simple, and so weighted with preconception. Calling it THE VAMPYRE means there is one, somewhere in the story. What if that is in doubt?

Monday, April 13, 2009

All the stupid vampires

Okay, here's the thing I noticed most, re-visiting THE VAMPYRE, being exposed to THE VAMPIRE and rediscovering DRACULA.

Polidori introduces the idea of a "gentleman vampire," one who walks among us, recognizable as a human. He stalks society. This works in Polidori's tale because we don't dig too deep. Ruthven appears, he's stunning, but when Aurbey spends an extended time with him (and Ruthven doesn't apparently spend too long in one place) he begins to become repulsed by his behavior, which is at first seen as merely churlish, not homicidal.

In THE VAMPIRE we have a "Rutwen" who is far too careless. Someone saw him die in Rome, another in Greece - he poses as an imaginary brother he doesn't actually have. This would confuse a simple person for a day or two, maybe. But it introduces the major plot hole in the gentleman vampire story; you can only get away with it for so long.

Anne Rice tried to deal with this conundrum in a rather Randian style by suggesting that mere mortals are too thick to notice what is right in front of them. Same guy never ages, disappears for a little bit, passes his estate onto his "nephew." No one, not the IRS, notices or cares.

Gaiman suggested the same thing in Brief Lives. I digress.

What Stoker did in the introduction of the character of Dracula was to address this problem by making the gentleman vampire from somewhere else, somewhere exotic. They know him where he comes from, boy howdy, the Transylvanian natives aren't stupid, they know evil when they see it. And this foreigner enters London society and fools everyone ... except the Dutchman.

What is up with the Dutch?

Even then, the ruse only lasts for so long. So the question remains, if the vampire originates in a certain society, the challenge in presenting a modern adaptation is making sure all the mortals don't come off as totally clowns.

Endings

Today, these are my names:

The Great Archives determine you to have gone by the identity:
Duke of The Great Oceans

Known in some parts of the world as:
Devil of The Underworld

The Great Archives Record:
Of the world below, creeping amongst the catacombs and sewers of the city.

Another word on THE VAMPIRE (stage play) ... interesting how the original short story, to be read in private, presented a tale where evil succeeds and the virtuous hero (right?) goes insane and then dies. In the publicly performed play, good triumphs over evil and even the victims have their revenge.

The Vampire, or The Bride of the Isles
by J. R. Planché
Full text of the English language version of Naodier's THE VAMPIRE ... public domain ..?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Nodier's THE VAMPIRE

This weekend I read THE VAMPIRE, an 1820 stage adaptation by Charles Nodier of Polidori's short story. Interesting, just to show the popularity of Polidori's work, this stage adaptation appeared just one year after the story debuted in 1819.

The adaptation I read was traslated by Frank J. Morlock (good name) in 2000. I am assuming the original script was in French, and given my basic knowledge of 19th century gothic horror plays, Mr. Morlock did his part making the play more palatable to a modern audience. Having said that, it still shares a great deal of the style of the period.

Adaptating a story into a play can be challenging - THE VAMPYRE (short story) goes everywhere, from Britain to Greece and back, with stops in between. THE VAMPIRE (play) takes place more or less in one room, or at least various rooms a single castle. That which occured prior to the events of the play are provided in the character's exposition, with some pieces of information coming out with a great deal of surprise, even for someone familir with the original tale.

In fact, I was surprised overall at how successful an adaptation I thought it was. Aubrey seems much more sure of himself in the play, a confident would-be hero, Ruthven (here called 'Rutwen') is far too much of the stagey villain near the end of the play, though he is marvellously suave and seductive at the start.