Archeologist Brian Crane excavates Dracula role, Makes It His Own

For immediate release: June 27, 2014

Brian Crane
Brian Crane

There was a time when Brian Crane, an archeologist who plays a psychiatrist in Dracula. A Love Story, had a special congress with the dead.

“While an undergraduate, I volunteered with a project at the University Museum to prepare their first computer catalog of objects,” Dr. Crane explained.  “We were working with a collection from Bronze Age burials in Russia. Our job was to check the description on a hand written index card with the objects in the corresponding box.

“My first card read ‘phalange and ring.’ A little puzzled, I opened the box, and yup, there was a ring still on the partially mummified remains of a finger. The next card read ‘ear rings.’ A little shaken by my first item, I opened this box a little more slowly. The ear rings were in the box as promised. And so was the ear.”

Crane pursued his duel career as an archeologist and an actor, finding a position at the Smithsonian after obtaining his PhD. It was not always good times. Crane recalls a particular incident  “when a forensic anthropologist colleague down the hall at the Smithsonian had a 19th-century burial in his office that still had a lot of soft tissue. The smell was so bad the entire anthropology department had to evacuate the building. They later gave him a lab. In the basement.”

Crane accumulated an impressive set of credentials in the acting profession, appearing in There is a Happiness that Morning Brings, Les Justes, Richard III, Hotel Fuck, Secret Obscenities, Small Craft Warnings, Peace, Red Noses, Edward III and Caligula. Most of his work has been with WSC Avant Bard and its predecessor company, Washington Shakespeare. “I have a tremendous amount of confidence in the work of that organization,” Crane said. “Christopher Henley and Jay Hardee worked hard to make WSC productive, and I was proud to be part of that effort.”

Dr. Crane is confident that Dracula will render the same sort of result. “I am impressed with the degree to which this play is faithful to the historical record, and also with the steps Christopher and Jay have taken to make sure that the production is accessible and emotionally satisfying. This is a big story, and they are doing it justice.”


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