Halloween lasts for just one night (or a few days), but back at the turn of the 20th century a craze for the macabre and disturbing had swept the new writing scene and it would last for years.
The stage version of Bram Stoker’s Gothic tome — written when such iconic tales as Jekyll & Hyde and The Turn of the Screw were keeping readers awake at night — is performed from 30 October at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre. Director Duncan Moore, shares with us the enduring appeal of Dracula and why his KDC theatre group production will offer audiences a genuinely scary experience. Forget plastic fangs, ‘Ducktacular’ cartoons and pink foam sweets, this play is based on the real thing…Why do people love Dracula?
DM: Dracula is an icon in pop culture these days, whether in cinema, inspiring the next generation of vampires in Twilight or appearing in a cameo in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But the heart of the original villain has been diluted over time. Lochhead (Scottish national poet, Liz Lochead, who adapted this version for the stage) restores him as Stoker envisaged, and the play is all the more intense for it.
How could the Victorians have dreamed up something that would still be able to scare us today?
DM: Modern audiences ask if vampires can be changed for the better – saved by the love of a good woman and a ‘vegetarian’ diet – but Stoker’s original concept denies vampires such simplistic salvation and, I think, is all the better for it. To stare into an evil heart, to know truly of evil, and STILL to surrender? Now that’s exciting.
Finally, why do you think the concept of a vampire man has latched onto our imaginations?
DM: I think vampires fascinate on several levels: they were once human, and retain their human visage, yet a monster lurks inside; they are damned, yet walk the earth having a high old time; they entice and tempt and bewitch – yet they can do nothing unless their victims first invite them in. That willing surrender is eternally intriguing. They are the darker side of our desires. Bad can be good, and as the popularity of Halloween shows, we all enjoy the chance to taste the bad.