"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"