Critic Tim Treanor makes his Capital Fringe debut as a playwright

For Immediate Release: June 14, 2014

Theater Critic Tim Treanor Steps “Into the Box” with new Dracula Play

tim on bench 1Over the past nine years, Tim Treanor has reviewed over five hundred plays for the theater website DC Theatre Scene. He’s reviewed musicals for The Sondheim Review, and is now Vice-President of the American Theatre Critics Association. Over that time, he’s said some caustic things, especially about plays in the Capital Fringe Festival.

It was time, he decided, to get “in the box” – to put his own play out there for others to judge.

The result is Dracula. A Love Story, a modern retelling of Bram Stoker’s 1897 story of a suave but monstrous killer who sucks the blood out of some people, and turns others into vampires like himself.

“It struck me that the story is as powerful now as it was in the Victorian age,” Treanor says. “People were confused and frightened by science back then, just as they are now – with climate change denyers and creationists, for example. It somehow becomes comforting to read a story about a supernatural creature.”

Fifty years ago, Treanor points out, popular writers Zane Grey, Earl Stanley Gardner, Ian Fleming – wrote about flesh-and-blood heroes. They were outsize personalities, to be sure, but they were unquestionably human. “We’ve grown a taste for the extra-human hero now,” Treanor says. “Vampires, zombies, werewolves. Fifty years ago, they were the threat. Now they’re often the heroes.”

Treanor’s Dracula, based on the savage 14th-century Romanian aristocrat, is no hero. “But I was interested in deconstructing the vampire, to see what makes him tick – or what makes him make us tick,” the playwright says.
Part of it borders on the religious. “Only two people ever said ‘drink my blood and live forever,’” Treanor points out. “One of them was Dracula.

“And there is undoubtedly a sexual frisson, particularly when he invites someone to become a vampire. The choice he gives Lucy is to surrender herself, surrender her personality, to be transported and transformed by this great creature, and to live forever.

“And that living forever part, that’s pretty cool. I mean, that’s hard to resist. And if the price is that you have to kill humans for food – well, it’s a little easier to pay after you cease being human yourself. After all, most of us don’t have any compunction about killing and eating other animals, as long as the animals aren’t cute. And that’s pretty much true for most carnivorous animals – they’re not cannibals, but they kill other types of animals without giving it a second thought. So why would a vampire be reluctant to kill a human? I tried to make that clear in the play.”

Dracula’s ability to create other vampires reminds Treanor of two things common in everyday life – lobbyists and viruses. “Dracula’s technique is to be persuasive,” Treanor says. “He doesn’t burst in and overpower anybody. He tries to convert you to his point of view, just like a lobbyist does, and when he succeeds, he changes you into himself, just like a virus will change the DNA of a good cell into itself.” In the play, Dracula takes on both aspects – he poses as a lobbyist by day (for an HMO!), and Dr. Calderone calls him a virus.

Dr. Calderone (played by Lynn Sharp Spears) is one of Treanor’s principal points of departure from Stoker’s story. “In 1897, gender roles were pretty clear: all the heroes were men, and their job was to rescue fair maidens. But that’s all nonsense now.” Treanor gave a woman the powerful job of fighting the vampire “because women do heroic things routinely, and our culture recognizes that now.”

This is Treanor’s first serious effort as a playwright (he wrote what he calls an “interactive murder mystery” for his local community theater about ten years ago – “you know, you guess the killer and get a prize, but no character arc or anything like that.”) and he calls this process “challenging and counterintuitive.

“When you write a novel (Treanor’s novel, The Seduction of Braulio Jules, is available in paperback and ebook ), or a review for that matter, you have to convey every piece of information through words. But with a play, much of the information will be conveyed through staging and acting. When I heard the first reading at Christopher and Jay’s house (co-directors Christopher Henley and Jay Hardee), I realized that I had seriously overwritten the play.” He quickly rewrote it and now has a script which, he says, “will sizzle in the hands of these actors.”

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What:  Dracula . A Love Story
by Tim Treanor
Who: Directed By: Christopher Henley and Jay HardeeStarring: Joe Brack*, Brian Crane, Christine Hirrel, Carolyn Kashner, Lynn Sharp Spears, Josh Speerstra
Featuring: Lee Ordeman* as DraculaFull bios can be found here.

*Members of Actors Equity Association

Where: Mountain – at Mount Vernon United Methodist Church
900 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC   20001
When:  Saturday, July 12: 3:45pm – 5:15pm
Friday, July 18: 10:30pm – midnight
Sunday, July 20: 6:15pm – 7:45pm
Thursday, July 24: 8:15pm – 9:45pm
Saturday, July 26: 10:45pm – 12:15am
Tickets & Passes: Go to capitalfringe.org or call 866-811-4111.
Photos: High resolution photos related to our show will be available at: http://www.timtreanorauthor.com/dracula-love-story/
Dracula .
A Love Story Publicist & Contact:
Kendra Rubinfeld, KRPR, 202-681-1151,
Kendra@KendraRubinfeldpr.com
Fringe Festival Press Contact: Laura Gross, 202-695-8223, c: 202-255-2054, press@capitalfringe.org
Official Handle and Hashtags  @Count_Tepes
#draculalovestory #capfringe14


Quote about Dracula . A Love Story

Dracula. A Love Story is not just a new way of looking at an old legend. It’s a new way of looking at the legend’s values and issues in light of what we have learned since then about our passions, human psychology, and about the ambiguous nature of good and evil.”

–Tim Treanor, playwright and producer

About our Cast

Professional actors often seen on DC stages including The Kennedy Center, Studio Theater, Theater J, SCENA, Imagination Stage, Arena Stage, WSC Avant Bard and more.  Two of the actors are veterans to the Capital Fringe stage, including Joe Brack, who produced and starred in last year’s Fringe hit, My Princess Bride. Full bios can be found here.

About our Playwright

This is Tim Treanor’s second play. His first, Murder in Elsinore, enjoyed a local run. Over the past nine years, Tim Treanor has reviewed over five hundred plays for the theater website DC Theatre Scene. He’s reviewed musicals for The Sondheim Review, and is now Vice-President of the American Theatre Critics Association.

About our Co-Directors

Married couple and fathers of twins, Chris Henley and Jay Hardee continue their collaboration as co-directors in this production. Christopher Henley began acting and directing around DC with Source Theatre Company in the late 1970s. He was a founding Ensemble Member at WSC Avant Bard (formerly Washington Shakespeare Company); was its Artistic Director for more than 16 years; and continues as its Artistic Director Emeritus and as a member of the Acting Company.  Jay Hardee has been acting in the DC theater scene since 2005 and directing since 2008 with WSC Avant Bard, Church Street Theater and Clark Street Playhouse.

About our Company

This is the debut play for Wry Productions, an offshoot of Wry Press, which has published Tim Treanor’s political thriller, The Seduction of Braulio Jules.

About Capital Fringe

Capital Fringe is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 2005 with the purpose of connecting exploratory artists with adventurous audiences by creating outlets and spaces for creative, cutting-edge, and contemporary performance in the District. Capital Fringe’s vital programs ensure the growth and continued health of the local and regional performing arts community by helping artists become independent producers while stimulating the vibrant cultural landscape in our city.

 

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