Saturday, September 17, 2016

...a Dracula performance & enjoying one's region...

You know honestly
I think there's a Dracula,
a Wolf Man, and
a Frankenstein's Monster
in all of us.
~ Richard Roxburgh

Last night my fella and I went to see the Quill Theatre’s Dracula, an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel written by Stephen Dietz and directed by Daniel Moore. For months I have been thrilled about not one but TWO vampire performances coming to the Richmond, VA area, including Quill’s and Firehouse Theatre's The Vampire: A Grotesque Melodrama by J.R. Planché, which I can no longer find information about anywhere.

My schedule has been exhausting and I’m fearful of all the “fun things to do” in October. Who writes “fearful” when it comes to fun activities? I could just not do it all but I really, really want to. So many of the fun gothy events are shoved into one month: one exhausting month. We can sleep in November when there are turkeys and the color palette focuses on all that is brown.

The truth is I am very tired. Yesterday, our day began at 4:30am as usual and then ended a little after midnight. Fridays have been terrible commute days with delayed trains so when I dressed yesterday morning, I wore what I planned to wear for the performance thinking that I might not have much time to dress. It turns out that I would have had time but still.

At 4:30am, I was already too tired to take a picture so I didn’t take a picture of my outfit. I wore my MiXT by Heidi Weisel Grid Burnout Dress. I like the belt that came with the dress but still switched it out for a belt with my Nosferatu's Hand Alchemy Gothic Belt Buckle. I wore a Kay Adams necklace which you can see in the photograph; W Hamond Silver And Whitby Jet Dracula Crest Signet Ring, and little bat earrings. 

Of all my Dracula book clutches, I opted for the P.S. Besitos Dracula book clutch, which is still one of my favorites (and I can carry the most stuff…but still that’s not much). I was happy how my lipstick turned out although it’s hard to see in the picture. I used Urban Decay lip liner in Pandemonium with Rimmel London Stay Glossy in Black Diva, which is basically a translucent black lip gloss.

We enjoyed a night out. We parked near the theater, walked around the Capitol looking at the statues and relishing in Richmond’s beauties. Then we headed back toward the theater, had some drinks, and enjoyed the performance. As for the performance, I especially enjoyed that Van Helsing was played by female actress, Melissa Johnston Price. She was amazing and completely believable. The set was gorgeous; the costumes were lovely. I'm not sure how they afforded the rights to Philip Glass music (just saying because I believe you have to pay for these kinds of things). Afterwards, we went and had dinner in The Fan District. In total with tickets ($74.50), drinks ($20), and dinner ($40), we contributed to our local economy.

I love living in a world with vampire advertisements!
I mention the economics of last night because this morning I have been emailing with a friend about local theater and he who pointed to a website where Quill’s Dracula received an unfavorable review. I’m not linking to that site because I don’t want to link to meanies and basically that’s what I think this review is.

I used the word criticism, removed it, and then decided that I needed to unpack that a bit. There are two definitions of criticism. The first focuses on the faults and mistakes of something which leads to an expression of disapproval; the second focuses on both the merits and the faults of artistic work. Often, I believe that theater reviews fall into the first definition and somehow we have all forgotten that there is a difference between quality and taste. I do not love all Faulkner (the English Professors of the world gasp!) but I can respect the quality of the work.

I also have a hard time with these reviews because they frequently do not differentiate between the work (the choices the actor makes and/or what the director tells him to do) and the actor (the person). When my fella was in a play a few months ago, he was incredibly talented (and I’m not biased at all!) There were so many patrons who complimented his work and who (still) ask what show he’ll be in next; but, there was one bad review: a bad review of Community Theater. He wasn’t paid a dime to participate. It fact, it cost us money considering he purchased all of his props and his suit, shirts, and hats. Mind you, my fella is a pretty sensitive soul; I believe that all creatives are. Some build a thick skin but I’m not sure if that is what they should be doing. The criticism my fella received was that he was too old to play the part. Thank you Mr. Lack of Imagination Critic. And how is this a critique of his performance? It is not.

Another issue, because this has become somewhat of a rant in my head, is that when we knock down local actors and regional theater, we’re only hurting ourselves e.g. read that as MONEY and ECONOMY! (Oh, boy, I’m in an all-caps now). You write that a local play isn’t that great and some people decide not to go. Well, there goes that theatre company’s budget. This ain’t Broadway, kids!

There were many aspects of the performance that I loved; there were aspects that left both of us puzzled. Will we go to another performance? Hell yeah we will. If we don’t invest in the creepy, weird, counter-culture, macabre, left-of-center, little-bit-odd, artsy who the hell will???

Steps down off of soapbox.   

Oh, and the floating doors and the woman sitting in chairs that Mr. Critic found so puzzling… I completely loved that!


  1. I love your out fit, looking stunning. It's shame how on bad review can intern destroy an entire theatre's budget. I'm not really into plays but I have a soft spot for Shakespeare. As present my partner purchased ticket for the Royal Shakespeare Theatre's Mid Summer Dream, my favourite. Our current Government spending cuts have resulted in the plays spending being cut, so they have worked with the RST actors and combination of local amateur theatre groups, which worked amazing it was hard to know who was a professional and amateur.

  2. Most times I find critics only helpful by being opposite to what I like. If they rave about something it usually is something I probably won't enjoy, if I even notice what they say. Sounds like a wonderful show and I wish I could go and for being so very tired, you didn't show it and looked amazing.

  3. Yes yes yes yes yes to all that!