Dracula in Vienna: "Count Dracula" at the International Theatre

by Massimo Introvigne

imgTed Tiller’s “Count Dracula” opened on January 20, 2003 at Vienna International Theatre (in English). I was pleased to see this play, a praiseworthy enterprise by a small company, and more pleased to discover that the audience was instructed about Dracula and Stoker by educational panels in the foyer mostly including excerpt from Elizabeth Miller’s works.

Tiller’s Dracula is not entirely loyal to Stoker, but so are almost all theatrical (and movie) adaptations. Mina becomes the ward of Dr Seward, and Dr Van Helsing’s first name (for whatever reason) is Heinrich. The most original innovation is the introduction of a (non-Stokerian) sister of Dr Seward, who is slightly out of her mind and provides (as well as involuntary help to Dracula) significant comic relief for the audience. Laura Mitchell plays this “Sybil Seward” with competence and brio. Gene DeWild is a persuasive Van Helsing, and all the other actors do their own good jobs. For Stoker aficionados, Dracula (Brian Hatfield), is too young and Mina simply too good-looking. In fact, the beautiful Nina Schneider would have made a wonderful Lucy, but the latter is mentioned rather than seen. Non-Stokerian are less likely to notice the discrepancies and will simply enjoy Hatfield’s and Schneider’s performances (not to mention good looks).

Horror with a touch of comedy, “Count Dracula” makes a nice addition to the rich history of theatrical Draculas. Recommended.


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