Monday, June 23, 2014

"Barnabas Collins" walks the boards in gothic opera

Tamara Ryan, Jonathan Parker  and Justin Hicks in OperaHub’s production of DER VAMPYR. Via The Boston Globe.

Barnabas Collins makes an appearance in a new stage production of DER VAMPYR in Boston.

Sort of.

I guess it's no surprise that Barnabas Collins would eventually pop up in a performance of DER VAMPYR, a German libretto with an almost meta-textual lineage. The original 1828 production was written by Wilhelm August Wohlbrück, which was based on a play by Heinrich Ludwig Ritter, which was based on the novella "The Vampyre" by John Polidori, which was incorrectly attributed to Lord Byron when first published ... and so on.

For the Boston production taking place until June 28 at The Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, playwright/librettist John J. King has revised the vampire's name from "Lord Ruthven" to "Nedward Barnabas Collins." The name "Nedward," I'm guessing, is a reference to George RR Martin's "A Game of Thrones."

But wait! There's more!

A quick glance at the cast list on the OperaHub website shows the play also features characters named Xander, Giles and Spike, which were the names of characters from the TV series BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. (It's possible DER VAMPYR's characters "Muffy" and "Parker" are also nods to the show.)  Here's the production's official summary:

In the original, Lord Ruthven, the eponymous blood-sucker, has not been sucking his fair share of blood. The other vampires in his coven gather at the witches' dance to charge him with taking three virgins by the end of the third day, or he will perish as a mortal. Tragedy ensues in the local village until the vampire is vanquished.
Playwright/librettist John J King, whose IRNE-nominated parody FROM DENMARK WITH LOVE ran last summer at the Boston Playwright's Theatre and Outside the Box Festival, has turned the story on its head, tightened the plot by consolidating several characters and laden it with pop-culture vampire references.  

The whole thing sounds a little too cutesy for my tastes, but the play got a positive review from THE BOSTON GLOBE. Tickets for the show are free and can be reserved in advance HERE.


Marie Maginity said...

This was loosely based on the 1887 Gilbert & Sullivan operetta "Ruddigore." The main character, Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd, is cursed by his ancestors (who pop out of their portraits) to commit an evil deed every day or die a horrible death. Another character is Mad Margaret, who lives in the graveyard.

Cousin Barnabas said...

I had no idea. My knowledge of the theater is ... not what it should be.

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