A Visit to the Home of a Grisly Murderer Prepares Joe Brack for Dracula Play

Joe Brack plays Jack Klaxon, Lucy's fiancee
Joe Brack plays Jack Klaxon, Lucy’s fiancee

In 2001, a young actor performing in Bratislava, Slovakia accompanied a classmate on a clandestine visit to a garden – the garden of Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed, the butcher of Bratislava. Between 1602 and 1604 she tortured and murdered at least thirty-seven – and perhaps over a hundred – young women, beating, starving and freezing them and in some instances hacking off parts of their bodies.

“Just talking about it gives me the chills,” Joe Brack now says.

Later versions of the story – probably apocryphal – allege that Báthory bathed in the blood of her victims, in order to keep up her youthful appearance. And Brack – who has compiled an impressive list of credentials on the Washington stage (My Princess Bride, The Santaland Diaries, Astro Boy and the God of Comics, among others) – is now in rehearsal for a play involving another half-legendary character: Count Dracula, who was based (we now know) on the savage real-life aristocrat, Vlad Tepas (or “Vlad the Impaler”).

In the 2014 Capital Fringe show Dracula . A Love Story, Brack plays Jack Klaxon, a character loosely based on Jonathan Harker in the original Dracula tale.  But “Klaxon is cool and cynical, while Harker was a true believer from the outset,” Brack explains. (Bram Stoker’s novel begins with Harker visiting Dracula at his Transylvanian estate). “Jack counterbalances some of the wilder conclusions people are drawing about Vlad,” says Brack. “He’s the part of us that says, ‘yeah, right.’”

Dracula. A Love Story is a modern retelling of the Dracula legend, set in Washington, D.C. Vlad Tepas (Lee Ordeman) is a lobbyist whose dying wife Mina (Christine Hirrel) needs a companion when he is away at night, ostensibly attending social functions. He recruits Lucy Cervas (Carolyn Kashner) as Mina’s companion – and her replacement. Klaxon, Lucy’s fiancée, is concerned, as is her father Will (Brian Crane), who eventually calls in an expert, Dr. Calderone (Lynn Sharp Spears). Mr. Redland (Josh Speerstra), Tepas’ servant, completes the cast.

“This is a story about rapture,” playwright Tim Treanor says. “Lucy sees that Vlad is extraordinary and she’s hungry for that. But you can find rapture with ordinary people, doing ordinary things as well.”

“Although this is Dracula and everything, ninety percent of what goes on here is instantly recognizable from our own experiences,” Brack says. “I remember once when an ex of mine dramatically threw her engagement ring at me and stormed off,” he relates, alluding to a scene in the play. “I never heard from her again.” Brack is now married to another actor, Tonya Beckman.


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 Dracula

Full 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: https://www.timtreanorauthor.com/dracula-love-story/
Dracula .
A Love Story Publicist & Contact:
Kendra Rubinfeld, KRPR, 202-681-1151,
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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