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Workshop Theatre and Fire Exit Theatre are offering two very different ways to close out October’s theatre scene.
Just in time for Halloween, Workshop Theatre is presenting Dracula, American playwright Steven Dietz’s 2019 version of Bram Stoker’s classic tale with Kimberly Elliott as the vampire.
“Kimberly is not playing the vampire as a woman. Her Dracula is androgynous. We are giving our production of Dracula a punk rock aesthetic, so for the vampire, there is no reference to gender at all. Think David Bowie,” says director AJ Pearce who explains, “Everyone who auditioned for the play, regardless of age, gender or race read for the role of Dracula, and Kimberly gave, by far, the best reading.”
Pearce feels the casting “has given some exciting undertones to the plights of Lucy and Mina, the main female characters in this version of the tale. Dietz’s approach makes Lucy and Mina the central characters of the story.”
Even with these tweaks to the iconic horror tale, Pearce says “this is still a classic story of good versus evil, and science versus religion. We look at what all the characters are going through once Dracula enters their lives.”
Pearce says any version of Dracula “must have blood, and must have a few jump scares because that’s what people expect. Dracula has haunted our imaginations for more than 125 years because of the sensuality of Bram Stoker’s characters, and because, at the end of the day, people like to root for the bad guy.”
Lucy is played by Chantal Brosseau, and her fiance Dr. Seward by Tim Hanna, while Mina is played by Caylie Kornelson, and her fiance by Shamoon Ikram. Ron Brouwer is the vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing, with Robert Bourne as Dracula’s poor demented henchman, Renfield, who acts as the play’s narrator.
Workshop’s Dracula runs in the Pumphouse’s Victor Mitchell Theatre from Oct. 27 through Nov. 4 with performances at 7:30 p.m. plus 2:30 p.m. matinees on Oct. 28 and Nov. 4. On Halloween night, there will be a costume contest. Advance tickets for all performances are available at workshoptheatre.ca/dracula-tickets.
REMEMBERING CAN BE PAINFUL BUT HEALING
From Oct. 25-29 in the Arts Commons Engineered Air Theatre, Fire Exit Theatre is hosting American playwright, actor and educator Ingrid De Sanctis in her highly personal solo show, The Things I Forgot.
In 2019, De Sanctis wrote a play called Stained Glass about a woman attending her father’s funeral who confronts the scandal that, 20 years earlier, tore apart her family and her pastor father’s congregation.
De Sanctis explains Stained Glass was semi-autobiographical as it dealt with the very real tragedy that unfolded in her life, and “it was the first time I had done a play that was based on my own life, but in that play, I could hide, because the character wasn’t called ‘Ingrid. I had written a play and hid myself in it. I have a strange, unique, odd, tragic, beautiful, weird story.”
De Sanctis is no longer hiding in her solo show, The Things I Forgot. She is alone on stage baring her heart and soul, and she admits “It is the most terrifying, artistic thing I have ever done. I keep waiting for my scene partner to arrive, but no one is coming.”
In 2016, Fire Exit produced De Sanctis’ play Sarah and the Dinosaur about a woman dealing with a cancer diagnosis that presents itself as a green dinosaur. When Fire Exit’s artistic director Val Lieske heard about The Things I Forgot, she invited De Sanctis to perform it in Calgary to open Fire Exit’s 22nd season.
Lieske calls The Things I Forgot humorous, heartbreaking and complex, and promises “Ingrid is a master storyteller whose vulnerability is matched by her wit and love of words.”
Performances on Oct. 25-28 are at 7:30 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinees on Oct. 28 and 29. Tickets are available at fireexit.ca/show/the-things-i-forgot