Are there out-of-control women in Dracula? We don’t seem to remember that part. There’s an undead guy, a woman in a nightgown, a bat and like that. We don’t remember any female characters running riot over the story.
“Dracula’s biting of the women is supposed to be seduction, but really, it’s misogynistic. The women [characters] are very oppressed. The one that doesn’t follow the rules gets punished; she gets killed. The other woman is behaving herself and she doesn’t get killed. The version that we’re doing amplifies that. There are lots of sexual innuendos throughout the story that make it clear that’s what the story is actually about.”
Houston audiences will recognize the actors in the production. Patricia Duran, recently named one of 20 Theater Workers You Should Know by American Theatre Magazine, plays Lucy (the one who doesn’t follow the rules). Christie Guidry plays Mina (she follows the rules), and Philip Hays plays Dracula.
The show closes on Halloween night with a big party after the curtain falls. Decker invites fans to come back: “If you’ve seen the show, on any night during the run, you can come to the party.”
8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 3 p.m. October 25; 8 p.m. October 26. Through October 31. Studio 101, Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring Street. For information, call 832-463-0409 or visit mildredsumbrella.com. Pay-what-you-can to $20.
ORGANIZER DESCRIPTION: Mildred’s Umbrella Theatre Company continues its 2015-2016 season with a return engagement of Mac Wellman’s Dracula, a bizarre and offbeat version of the Bram Stoker classic that is campy, dark, and fun – all told through the unique words and voice of Mac Wellman.
Originally produced in 1987 at River Arts Repertory in Woodstock, NY, Mac Wellman’s Dracula tells the story of two sexually repressed women who find freedom and passion in the vampiric world of late Victorian London. According to Artistic Director Jennifer Decker, who will be directing the production, the play takes the basic premise of the vampire legend and ramps up the sexual connotations – to a point where the focus of the show becomes more about Dracula’s female victims.
“The show is actually a metaphor for the sexual liberation of women,” Decker said. “It is rife with innuendos that allude to the loss of virginity and innocence, finding sexual independence, and breaking free of the societal constraints imposed upon women of that era. But those elements are blended with music, dark humor, and plenty of colorful wordplay to create a piece that is edgy, entertaining, and a perfect fit for Mildred’s Umbrella’s audiences.”
Mac Wellman’s Dracula was actually one of the very first shows produced by Mildred’s Umbrella in 2004. The return engagement will feature several of the same actors reprising their roles from the first production, as well as some fun new surprises. “Now that we have found our voice as Houston’s premier female-focused theatre company, we look forward to presenting a show that embraces those juicy metaphors and takes them in new and outrageous directions,” Decker said. “It’s the perfect show for Halloween, and we look forward to showing our patrons a ‘bloody’ good time.” In fact, the October 31 closing night performance features a post-show Halloween Bash with open bar, snacks, karaoke, costume contest, and more.
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