I do hope you all will pardon me, dear readers, for focusing so much this week on myself. I don’t usually do that, but I am celebrating a special occasion, my first, ahem, “victimization” at the fingertips of an online troll. One of the tacks my erstwhile little troll utilized was to mention my original play, DRACULA: LORD OF THE VAMPIRES, and the fact that I am offering performance rights to theatre groups free of royalty fees. It would seem this was amusing to my troll, and my troll took it as an indication that I must be “desperate” and the quality of my work sub-par. Considering the premiere run of DLOTV netted something like $10,000, I would consider it a success, well worth the time and effort I put into it even if I never made another penny off it. I’m not, however, content to leave things there. I want to make even MORE money off it. Why, then, am I offering it for free?
Lookit, there are numerous Dracula plays out there. They are literally a dime a dozen. And these are the ones in existence in addition to the venerable Deane/Balderston classic. How could one hope to make a NEW Dracula play noticeable amidst all the rest? My decision to put it out there for free was an experiment. Am I worried someone will rip me off? No. The play is fully copyrighted; I’ll sue the holy hell out of anybody that tries it. Furthermore, why would anybody bother to steal it, when I’m willing to let them use it FOR FREE in exchange for the publicity? As for its quality or lack thereof, I daresay it is every bit as good as any other Dracula play out there, and superior to a goodly number of them. Yes, even the venerable Deane/Balderston work. Don’t believe it? Call my bluff, theatre companies! See for yourselves. Instead of my royalty-free offer being an indicator of my play’s inferiority, as my troll suggested, it is just the opposite. I’m putting it out there for the world because I believe it is that GOOD. And thanks to my lovely little troll, I now have an opportunity to shill it without it coming across as mere shameless self-promotion. I can do so as a matter of self-defense. Surely no one would begrudge me that? (At this point y’all feel free to picture me with a cherubic smile and a little halo over my head.)
Writing this play was a labor of love. I probably would have done it just for the sheer pleasure of it, even if I’d known I’d never make a cent off it. That’s how beloved to me are this character and this story. And writing my own version gave me the opportunity to add those things I’ve always wanted to see in a Dracula play, such as references to the real-life Dracula, Vlad III, the “Impaler,” and an increased presence for Dracula’s three brides. My Brides were the sexiest, most sinister, spidery scene-stealers I’ve ever seen outside of a Dracula movie starring Monica Bellucci. Doing Dracula my way also allowed me to kill off Jonathan Harker, a character I detest. He is tied with Raoul from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA as the most useless character in Literature. After Harker is killed by the Brides, I set up a romance, short-lived and tragic, between Mina and Quincy. The most fun I had, though, was in having Dracula meet Bram Stoker, his “biographer.” I was free to do anything I wanted with the characters and the story, and it was wondrous.
Any playwright can tell you that the finished product you see on the stage, unfortunately, is never fully equal to the play you see in your mind. I have heard that Agatha Christie felt her character Poirot was “too big” for the stage to contain him. How, then, could it ever contain Dracula? I think it’s because a staged production based on Stoker’s novel can only highlight one facet of the character; no play can ever capture Dracula in his totality. For my version, I chose to go with the “Nosferatu” angle. My Dracula was bald with pointy ears. Having a leading man of eastern European descent, who could manage an authentic accent, certainly didn’t hurt. And as he was married to a dentist, his fangs were custom-made and looked wicked cool. The best compliment I received—and I received many; audience response to the show was overwhelmingly positive—was when a group of sanguinarians came out to the show and pronounced it the best play they’d ever seen. I was giddy for days.
Any theatre companies out there wanna check out DRACULA: LORD OF THE VAMPIRES? As there are no monies involved, you don’t have to go through my literary agency. Just hit me up here. All you need is credentials (meaning you have to prove association with a theatre company). I have to make sure you aren’t a troll, after all.
(BTW, the photo accompanying this article is of our set, which I constructed all by myself!The Brides even climbed up and down the walls! See the camouflaged handholds? It was awesome! … Okay, I had a crew helping me. And a foreman who actually knew what he was doing. But it was my design, dammit!)