Rorschach Theatre puts feminist teeth into ‘Dracula’ and it’s bloody good
From DC Theatre Arts
Trust Rorschach Theatre to immerse us in an unreal world. Inevitably they go all in; it is their fantastical forte. And this time, with Kate Hammill’s feminist adaptation of Dracula in hand, Rorschach has conjured a wondrous world that becomes before our eyes a window into the real one.
The play’s unsubtle subtitle is A Feminist Revenge Fantasy, and the script bears an epigraph by the British poet Elisabeth Hewer:
God should have made girls lethal when he made monsters of men.
That blunt line may or may not be to your taste, but it points to the theme of a riveting production that will give you chills—because even more than a feminist revenge fantasy, this rendition of Dracula stabs at the heart of male authority in women’s lives.
The site of the performance is a disused firehouse, a station that once parked firetrucks and now houses a fire starter of a show. The set designed by Sarah Markley is an eerie assemblage of dust-cover-draped furniture, empty frames hung on walls among Victorian sconces, and gauzy scrims suspended in portals to a mysterious upstage otherworld. As the play shifts locales from London to Transylvania to a graveyard to an insane asylum and elsewhere, this multipurpose set together with spectral lighting by James Morrison and creepy sound by Kenny Neal propels the telling of the tale like a quickening heart. Neal’s dissonant inter-scene piano score would alone accompany any number of nightmares.
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