August 6, 2014



Courtesy Photo - Central Works 


This kind of play usually goes without an intermission in order not to break tension. But hooray....the audience got a special break between the play. And they were relieved in this kinda virtual re-telling of Bram Stoker's Dracula novel as they were glued to the chair.   

Here's the deal. A Detective comes to an insane asylum to interrogate four inmates with regard to the disappearance of Count Dracula. Maybe its one of you. No just kidding. The Detective however is pushing to keep the inmates in jail.  

All of the actors bravely give top performances that finally make the detective and us believe that Count Dracula is approaching. Watch out!  

The Dracula lifestyle or vampire, seems to be a subculture that's based on the modern perception of vampires in popular fiction. This culture stemmed largely from the goth subculture, but there are elements of the sadomasochism. Is vampirism real? Well, maybe yes and maybe no. Sexuality does squirm around the stage. The Erotic sexual attraction is very strong, as the audience squirms in their seats. 

In this play there is plenty of Madness. Just looking at one of the men with his arms in a Straight Jacket is just enough to make you squirm. And to top all of that is the dirty feet, dirty arms and a bare chest. They don't live in a nice and clean home. But -- as you might expect - it's a Prison. And the floor is not that nice and cozy either. One of them groveled his way out the window. Poof - he vanished. 

Their are Odd sounds in the Winds. Moonlight brings out a strange women. The poor woman seemed to want to be dead. Oh well - I guess the wolves got her. You'll have to find out. 

Here's the question. Are there really Living Vampires? Well, in this explosive play they see themselves as highly spiritual. I think they leave out the blood drinkers. Oh well their psychic energy balances. One minute they act human and the next time you look, they give us moments of psychological energy. You could call them "fashion vamps". They are distinctly from the human vampires. Some are more or less non-vampire. 

I don't think that Christianity and modern vampires work too well in prison. One minute they seem to love you - and hate you the next moment. Scary right? I don't think that the Vamps promote violence or crime in any form. But, they do need a Bath. I would not want to sleep with them. Whether they are Vamps or Dracula's -- this has been said: "I sometimes think we must be all mad and that we shall wake to sanity in strait-waistcoats" - Bram Stoker. The year was 1895. 

The Play is Shockingly immodest and gorgeously grand. Very evocative - fascinating characters - Compelling and Powerful - Tense and Nail Biting - Unbearably Tense! 

HERE IS THE PERFECT CAST: Joe Eslack - John Flanagan* - Joshua Schell - Kenny Toll - Megan Trout 

WRITTEN by Gary Graves 
directed by the Grand Jan Zvaifler

Berkeley City club 
2315 Durant Avenue 
Thru August 17 (Central Works) 

RATING: Six Stars****** or Six Glasses of Champagne (if you like)******  

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he also produced a long running Arts Segment on PBS KQED for seven years))) 

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