Watching “Dracula”

by Trent England on February 21, 2010

I generally do not like adaptations of any kind, book-to-movie or movie-to-theater to name only two (the list could go on for another paragraph), but Dracula is different. The Bram Stoker novel is a collection of letters and diary entries. Its power is in the effect it has on the reader, the ambiguity of the real events combined with the mental work the reader has to do will make me always believe Dracula should be read, not watched. Its format demands it.

Theatre@First has put to use John Mattera’s 1980 adaptation, so no one involved in the current production (at the Elizabeth Peabody House in Somerville through the 27th) should be directly held responsible. While no damage is done to the classic’s reputation, almost nothing exceptional is done, either. Only a new scene staged by Neil Marsh, creatively re-telling the Demeter’s (Dracula’s ship) passage from Transylvania to England, makes it out of this production alive.

However, the cast is mostly full of good, hard-working actors. Their passion and commitment to these roles show and make up for the passable sets and tacky music. Unfortunately, on the whole, the cast also seems to be more excited about the subject of the play than the play itself. Perhaps, also, this is a show for an audience a little more excited about Dracula.

Trent England lives in Cambridge where he is finishing his first novel. He can be found online at

Theatre@First Dracula

Marty Seeger (Lucy) and Ron Lacey (Dracula) (Elizabeth Leonard)

Theatre@First‘s Dracula @ the Elizabeth Peabody House, 277 Broadway, Somerville. $15 Adults, $12 Seniors/Students

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