"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.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Count


And now it's a vampire play. Moving from the language-dense first arc into this hyper-stagey melodrama ... I mean, it's just so much fun! I am trying very, very hard not to go all Lugosi, but it is a challenge. Especially because I wrote myself a monologue that is more Bride of the Monster than Dracula.
Home? I have no home. Hunted, despised, Living like an animal! The jungle is my home. But I will show the world that I can be its master! I will perfect my own race of people. A race of atomic supermen which will conquer the world! Ha ha ha ha ha ha! - Dr. Eric Vornoff

Friday, January 29, 2010

Costume fitting today!

Click on to enlarge image!


Your narrator.


Lord Darvell


Maria Hartwell


Young Aubrey Porlock


Visited Esther in the costume shop today, she asked if we shouldn't postpone the fitting today because she was lacking certain pieces ... but I'd made cookies and everything, and besides, there is an awful lot to get through. I haven't even included the pictures of the Count or the contemporary Porlock. It is all going to look delicious!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Get set ...


Did I mention the room we are rehearsing in is really small? But you know, so many of the spaces we will be performing in (I'm looking at you, Nordonia Branch of the the Akron Public Library) that it doesn't bother me, or Andrew. I can't speak for the rest of them.

I mean, it was tight yesterday, when we began shaping the show. But tonight we have the set, and now we really know where we stand. Or don't. Where we don't stand. Because there is little room to stand there.

I jest. The fact is, we are having great fun blocking the first arc. Because it is the most challenging arc, because it is the arc the fewest people will be familiar with. But Andrew is making great effort to make it clear, easy to follow, suspenseful - and very, very weird.

He has truly encouraged me to loosen up with my Darvell, much more Oscar Wilde than, well, Nosferatu to be honest. So when he does become menacing, it throws you. Is this guy serious?

Costume fitting tomorrow. I made cookies!

(By the way - it's not staying purple. Just so you know.)

Talkback

Daniel and I visited the Alcazar yesterday, where this play will premiere on Tuesday, February 16. We traditionally head over in advance of the tour to decide which room will be suit the production - and to have a presentation for interested Alcazar residents on the tour.

We have pretty much decided to return to the ballroom on the 5th floor. Hope you can join us.

One of our concerns has been how this play will go over with people of a certain age. We know the kids dig the vampires, but what about the seniors? Well, I do not think we have much to worry about. If anything, we were reminded that everyone knows what vampires are - and you know, some people really do know more than you do.

I met a self-professed witch who is very excited about the show coming, and a woman whose husband is Romanian and faced me a couple times over Vlad Teppes. There was a lady who sounded British who confessed that she had never read a single vampire novel, ever. But she was looking forward to the production.

What I also discovered is that I can run my mouth about vampire minutiae. This is something I will need to curb during post-show discussions, which are supposed to be about issues raised in the play, and not just how smart I think I am.

During rehearsal we sketched through The Giaour. I am thrilled that, from the very beginning, Andrew is getting us on our feet and working on how we rip through this thing. Speed, speed, speed!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

First Night

Just the four of us, Andrew (director), Dusten (Man #2), Emily (Woman) and I (Man #1 - of course) met for three hours last night to read the script a few times and begin a discussion about how we are going to tackle it.

Speed, for certain. A sense of urgency. Why are we here? You wait, I will show you. As Andrew says, every scene ends/begins with a sinister, "Oh yeah? There's MORE."

I got to try out the Romanian and it seems to work well. Not quite Lugosi (that's a good thing) and straining to avoid Pavel Chekov. Perhaps the first rehearsal I have ever attended that included a reference to the film Dodgeball.
Peter: Alliteration aside, I think I'll take my chances.
White Goodman: Yeah, you will take your chances.
Peter: I know. I just said that.
White Goodman: I know you "just said that".
Peter: I'm not sure where you're going with this.
White Goodman: I'm not sure where you're going with this.
Peter: That's what I said.
White Goodman: That's what I'm saying to you.
Peter: Okay.
White Goodman: Touché.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

THERE REALLY ARE SUCH THINGS!!!

We begin rehearsals tomorrow ... ran into Andrew this evening in the offices, we looked over the rehearsal space, big enough for maybe two of us to fit into at one time, but that's okay, there's only two of us onstage at any given moment anyway.

Man. I have to put these words I have written into my own mouth. Very strange. It's nothing I am familiar with. When I perform solo shows, it is like being me, telling stories. And I have written plays for others. But never created a fiction for myself to perform in.

There is so much business in this play, so much stagecraft, effects, combat, music, sound effects, what was I thinking?

Kelly has been pulling the program together, that's going to look good. Again - clarity, Daniel reminds us, clarity. How do we get an audience up to speed on so much history in such a brief period of time. A high school audience, an audience of geriatrics. There is a character listing, with the date of each scene (1810, 1900, &c.) and a great essay from Margaret about each novel that inspires the work. Kelly has added costume renderings from each time period, people will know what they are getting themselves into.

The costumes, by the way ... well, I just need to make an entry soon all about the costumes. Yeah. Awesome.

And it all starts tomorrow.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Eternal ... Vampire


So the question was ... in the notes for the program, should we call the film Nosfertau Anti-Semitic? I think what Daniel was most concerned about was the implication that Stoker's book is, by proxy, anti-Semitic, but we did have a good discussion about whether or not stating it so flatly isn't inviting unnecessary controversy.

I was not suggesting that the Murnau was intentionally setting out to make a Jew-hating film. But I do feel that there were and are stereotypical traits that have been ascribed to one race with are manifest in the character of Count Orlock - and that prior to the Holocaust, inarguably the horrific culmination of centuries of passive acceptance of these stereotypes by non-Jewish peoples, these negative physical, moral and spiritual traits were and acceptable way of telling a story.

I do not need to provide links to hate-sites to provide ample evidence that others, even and especially today, hold up this film as an excellent metaphor for the Jewish problem. And I do hope that this particular use of the vampire myth will make for some excellent discussions during our tour.

Rehearsals begin Tuesday. And yes, we do have a space.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Funny! Touching! Smart!"

Hey, hey - here's some guerilla PR! Dan Shaurette's vampire-loving podcast: Out of the Coffin, episode #55 features a shout-out to DARK SIDE! I sent him a copy of one of the earlier drafts a month or two ago, and he and his lovely wife Michelle give it some airtime. Listen for it around the 32 minute mark.

"I love it a lot!" - Dan Shaurette, author of Lilith's Love. "Full of suspense, romance, drama and lots of laughs."

Press Release

For Immediate Release:
January 20, 2010

Great Lakes Theater Festival Presents
World Premiere of On the Dark Side of Twilight
As Free Touring Production

The new play by local playwright David Hansen
will visit twenty-one venues across northeast Ohio.

Great Lakes Theater Festival (GLTF) will launch the world premiere of On the Dark Side of Twilight, a free touring production scheduled to visit twenty-one neighborhood venues throughout northeast Ohio, to kick off the company’s 2010 series of Surround outreach programming. The production features a touring company of three actors and is directed by Andrew May. The tour commences on February 16th, continues through March 11th and is designed to support the Festival’s upcoming main stage production of Bat Boy: The Musical at the Hanna Theatre, PlayhouseSquare, this Spring. All performances of the touring production are free and open to the public, with the exception of performances at area schools, which are private. The touring play is appropriate for teens through adults.

“Now more than ever, we believe it is important to share free, professional theatre with people out in their own communities,” said Daniel Hahn, Great Lakes Theater Festival’s Director of Education, when asked about the Festival’s annual tour. “When we decided to produce Bat Boy: The Musical, I knew right away that from an educational perspective, exploring classic gothic literature’s influence on contemporary society had some relevance. We are extremely fortunate to have an award-winning playwright in David Hansen on our staff, and vampire lore is somewhat of his specialty. David was very excited to take on this project, and I think audiences are going to be taken by his wonderful new play.”

Taking its title from a Bram Stoker quotation, David Hansen’s world premiere one-act drama On the Dark Side of Twilight explores the evolution of the classic vampire myth, from its literary origins in John Polidori’s The Vampyre, through Stoker’s Dracula, Anne Rice’s Interview With A Vampire, and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. An homage to four pivotal moments in the history of classic vampire literature, taken as a whole, On the Dark Side of Twilight describes a complete, two-century epic centering around the character of Aubrey Porlock.

The three-actor touring company features Cleveland actors David Hansen, Emily Elizabeth Pucell, and Dusten Welch. The design trio of Terry Martin (scenic design), Esther Haberlen (costume design) and Richard Ingraham (sound design) complete the play’s production team. “Andrew has directed multiple GLTF tours, and Terry and Richard have designed for this program for several years as well, so we are thrilled to have their talents again on this year’s tour. I am especially proud to feature the Surround debut of costume designer Esther Haberlen, GLTF’s assistant Costume Shop Manager.” Hahn said.

On the Dark Side of Twilight is a seventy-minute program that includes an introduction and post-performance discussion. This production is appropriate for teens through adults. Times and dates are subject to change. Call individual venues for more information about the performances.

On the Dark Side of Twilight is part of a series of community programs surrounding Great Lakes Theater Festival’s upcoming Spring Repertory production of Bat Boy: The Musical, story and book by Keythe Farley & Brian Flemming; music & lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe (April 8 – May 16, 2010 at the Hanna Theatre, PlayhouseSquare). Held throughout northern Ohio from February through October, the 2010, the Festival’s Surround offers multiple educational programs designed to connect the issues in our plays to the issues in people’s own lives. All Surround events are free and open to the public when at non-school venues.

For more information, visit the Great Lakes Theater Festival website at www.greatlakestheater.org or call the Festival’s education department
at (216) 241-5490 x307.

# # #

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Oh, my.

ON THE DARK SIDE OF TWILIGHT opens one month from today.

Rehearsals begin one week from today.

At present, we have no rehearsal space.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Speaking

International Dialects of English Archive: ROMANIAN

LATER: My friend Chuck R. will be assisting me in developing a Romanian accent for the older version of Porlock ... we want to avoid some Bela Lugosi kind of thing, Porlock isn't really Romanian anyway, he just finds himself spending ninety years there.

Poster's done! See it to the side there.

New Title

On the Dark Side of Twilight

Thoughts?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Rohypnol

"Listening to Vampire Weekend is like being serenaded by a date rapist."
- David Hansen, 2008

Drowned In Sound review
Oh, the British. Too clever by half. Where damning with faint praise isn't some kind of tired, jaded pose, but something you merely exhale.

LATER: Hey - check out the new banner artwork. The final graphic has not been chosen yet, but we're getting close.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Torture

Mildly diverting fan-fiction.

se⋅quel /ˈsikwəl/ –noun

1. a literary work, movie, etc., that is complete in itself but continues the narrative of a preceding work.
2. an event or circumstance following something; subsequent course of affairs.
3. a result, consequence, or inference.
Origin: 1375–1425; late ME sequel(e) < L sequēla what follows, equiv. to sequ(ī) to follow + -ēla n. suffix
Yes, by that definition, Dracula: The Un-Dead is a sequel. But having read the original and this work back-to-back, really highlighted the classic nature of the original, and the commonness of the follow-up.

The original novel is suspenseful, lyric, haunting, surprising, subtle and thoughtful. This book is obvious, grotesque, and desperately begging for a film option.

I will admit, from a personal point of view, Quincey Harker's and his mentor's relationship held my interest in the opening chapters, and there were aspects of the period represented which were detailed and interesting. However, once the action begins moving, it's all very trite and spelled out in broad terms, the broadest of which is the villain, Countess Bathory, who is a very irritating character. Painted as a man-hating, drag-king, lesbian-witch from Hell, she is quite simply boring in every scene she is in.

My question is, my not take the risk and create a sequel that is written like the original, in found letters and documents? That simple (yet difficult) conceit makes the story live in the moment - and makes the mystery that much more mysterious, as we live the tale through those who do not know everything. Dracula, as presented in Bram Stoker's novel, is a complete cypher, he speaks for sure, but we only hear his thoughts through others. As penned by Ian Holt (and fronted by Dacre Stoker) he and Bathory are too accessible - in his case, far too much like Lestat or other vampires who have come since, and that brings this legendary creature far too close to earth.

Why so much time spent on a review for a book I disliked? Because I felt compelled to finish it because of this play, otherwise I would have returned it to the library two weeks ago. I do not have time to read any more vampire fiction, it's 2010 and I need to get me a biography of Jesse Owens.