Dracula by the Synetic Theater

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a performance of Dracula by the Synetic Theater, held at the Rosslyn Spectrum.  A friend of the family who is a professor was on the panel following the performance and was able to provide us with tickets.  The Synetic Theater productions are fascinating because they are not like standard theater, but are instead movement based.  There was some dialogue within the production, but movement was mostly used to convey the seductive story of Dracula.

Movement was not the only unique thing about the piece, though the passionate dancing, elegant movement, and beautiful people on the stage were certainly captivating. However, there was also a unique use items on a fairly bare stage to convey setting.  A long strip of black fabric was used to convey water, soil, and invisibility most convincingly.  Stage blocks were transformed into a bed and pedestals, and human bodies covered in the same black fabric also became furniture in conjunction with the rehearsal blocks.

At times, the movement verged on camp.  It is certainly difficult to create wild seduction using flailing arms.  The majority of the time, the movement seemed appropriate and was able to provide subtext for the motivations of the characters, or to illustrate when the characters gave in entirely to their animal impulses.

The production stayed mostly true to the novel, with one change at the end which I will not give away; let’s just say that it enabled the female characters to gain some power in a story where they are otherwise powerless.


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