Nosferatu: The Morning of My Death
Adapted from Dracula by Bram Stoker and Nosferatu by F.W. Murnau
Directed and Mise en Scène by Edward Elefterion
Rabbit Hole Ensemble (www.rabbitholeensemble.com)
Midtown International Theater Festival (www.midtownfestival.org for
Where Eagles Dare Theater, 347 W. 36th Street, Ground Floor
Equity showcase (closed August 5, 2007)
Review by Byrne Harrison
Just when you think you've seen every possible permutation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, along comes an exciting and elegant version to reinvent the story. Such is the power of Stanton Wood's Nosferatu: The Morning of My Death. This beautiful and haunting version adapted from F.W. Murnau's 1922 film, Nosferatu, and Bram Stoker's Dracula, is a mix of drama and storytelling, in which the actors are the center of attention and use all their skills to draw the audience into their tale.
Written to be the second half of a full-length version of the
play, Nosferatu begins with the Count's
(Matt W. Cody) journey to
While Nosferatu gets top billing, this is Mina's story. She serves as the primary narrator of the tale and all the action centers around her attraction to and attraction of the vampire. Kalinowski is marvelous in the role. Her mix of terror, revulsion, and fascination create a wonderfully complex Mina; it's easy to believe that she might just join the vampire at the end of the play, regardless of how the story is supposed to go. The rest of the cast are equally strong in their roles. Of particular note are Danny Ashkenasi, whose Renfield is both grotesque and tragic, and David Miceli, as Dr. Westenra, the stubborn man of science whose refusal to believe in the possibility of something supernatural dooms his wife Lucy (Emily Hartford) and nearly dooms Mina as well.
What makes this an especially moving production is director Edward Elefterion's embrace of simplicity and style. There are minimal sets, moody lighting full of shadow, simple costumes that don't indicate a particular period, few props, and most intriguing, the cast's creation of subtle sound effects to add depth to the various scenes. The soft creaking noises used during the scenes describing the Channel crossing and the soft laughter and babbling of the asylum are especially good. Adding to the mood is the way Cody's Nosferatu is presented – always caressed by shadow and, when interacting with Mina, hidden behind her, as though he were in her mind more so than a physical presence. Make-up designer Courtney Daily has done a splendid job of keeping Murnau's vision of the creature intact.
Stanton Wood has created an excellent adaptation of the Dracula legend which has been brought to life by Elefterion and the exceptional cast. This reviewer can't wait to see the full-length version.
Copyright 2007 Byrne Harrison
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