Nothing says Halloween like a tall, fanged man in a long black cape. And costumed revelers who want to extend their spook-day celebrations into November may wish to check out the closing weekend of Hattiloo Theatre's solid production of Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Playwright Steven Dietz made a name for himself with the absurdist AIDS play Lonely Planet and earned critical plaudits for God's Country, a hard-hitting look at hate crimes in America. His take on gothic literature's most famous bloodsucker is far less serious than previous endeavors, mixing humor and horror in equal measures. Dietz's Dracula has less to to do with blood and bats than it does with seduction and a community's response to the sudden, scientifically inexplicable darkness that overtakes it.
Landry Kamdem Kamdem, a native of Cameroon and postdoctoral research scientist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, plays the wicked count with smoldering intensity. His lyrical accent may betray the actor's non-Transylvanian roots, but it adds plenty to the play's exotic and occasionally erotic mystique.
Veteran actor Tony Anderson, known for powerful performances in shows like Master Harold... and the Boys and My Children! My Africa!, takes on the role of doctor-turned-vampire-hunter Abraham Van Helsing. Reginald Brown, an assistant professor of theater at the University of Memphis and co-founder of Newark, New Jersey's Ensemble Theater Company, directs.
"Dracula" at Hattiloo Theatre through Sunday, November 4th. Tickets at the door are $18 for adults, $15 for students and seniors.