[Again, another which SHOULD have been in your hands much sooner, but I’m a nitwit who can’t work a computer properly. I’d blame wordpress for changing the setup on me, but we all know it’s my fault.]
Me again, my lovelies. Next in the hot seat is James Dorr, who has totally blown the top off of my brain with a review of DRACULA: ENTRE L’AMOUR ET LA MORT. I’m so going to have to find this thing now. It’s right up my creepy little alley. So I’ll shut up now and let him talk.
DRACULA, WITH MUSIC AND IN FRENCH —
FOR LOVERS OF HORROR, AS WELL AS LOVERS
Dracula in French? And with songs! Yes, all that and more awaits those who enjoy a delightful shiver on seeing a bat’s silhouette on the moon, one’s “significant other” on one’s arm, while nights are chill and days may yet bring snow. And it’s on DVD, “inspiré du roman de Bram Stoker, le spectacle musical Dracula: Entre L’Amour et La Mort.” Yes, the musical version of Dracula — in French. Actually produced in Quebec where it ran from January 13 to December 16 2006 (with the DVD version filmed in November that year, although the DVD itself didn’t come out until 2008), it has since been performed as well in France and elsewhere. Translated as “Dracula: Between Love and Death,” it was created by Bruno Pelletier (who also plays the part of Dracula) with music by Simon Leclerc and lyrics by Roger Tabra.
But there is a down side, it’s only available in French (and québécois to boot, as well as a few lines in Ukrainian) with — at least in the only version of it I’ve been able to find — no English subtitles, and as for me the title is about as far as my language skills are going take me. So what I’ll offer here may be not so much a review as an outline of differences between it and the plot of Bram Stoker’s novel, so one can follow it just enjoying the stagecraft and music. And I will say that, even without a translation, the music is great, the dancing and acting, the costumes and settings all great too. For me at least — but then I like things like les trois vampiresses (a.k.a., in the movies, the “Brides of Dracula”) done up BDSM style with Medusa-like headdresses!
Also the plot should be sufficiently familiar that it can be followed well enough without really knowing the words. There are some variations from Stoker, though, to be aware of (the large puppet-creature that starts it off, by the way, is not a character per se but rather a sort of announcer-commentator). It follows the conceit of, for example, Francis Ford Coppola’s movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula in seeing the vampire as a Vlad Tepes extension whose wife has been lost and who discovers, 500 years later, Mina Murray as a kind of soul-descendant, thus setting up a major conflict as being between Dracula and Mina’s husband-to-be Jonathan Harker; Lucy in this version is Van Helsing’s daughter (Van Helsing, seen as very religious, has tried to keep her from the evils of the world, but she rebels with results that are not good); Renfield as a drug addict plays a more modern sort of madman; other parts are thus eliminated but the three vampire women have their roles expanded to almost an equivalent of the three Fates, at some moments standing in in a way as a kind of Greek chorus. So one part is literal, a telling of a variant of the original novel in music, but another level is allegorical taking in the larger themes of good and evil, weakness and strength, love and pain and death, and ultimately redemption. And it is ultimately Mina who must choose, whereas the original “Elhemina,” as the warlord Dracula’s promised bride, is the one who was cursed from the beginning and so had “turned” him.
And then there’s one thing more. While I haven’t been able yet to find a subtitled version, I have found a blog in which much of the libretto has been translated to English on a song by song basis, though not necessarily in production order. So for die-hards like me, one can copy the songs out (with a warning that, even as of now, it may still not be entirely complete), re-shuffle them as needed into act and scene order, and watch the show with lyrics in hand to glance at as one will. And so I’ve provided a link below.
However I will recommend for a first look, especially as a Valentine’s Day treat with appropriate spirituous refreshments on hand (or even if not — hot dark chocolate is nice with whipped cream and optional sprinkles on top), don’t worry about the actual words. You know the story. So just sit back with that special friend, relax, and enjoy.
Indiana writer James Dorr’s THE TEARS OF ISIS was a 2014 Bram Stoker Award® nominee for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection. Other books include STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE, DARKER LOVES: TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET, and his all-poetry VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE). An Active Member of HWA and SFWA with nearly 400 individual appearances from ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE to YELLOW BAT REVIEW, Dorr invites readers to visit his blog at http://jamesdorrwriter.wordpress.com.
AND SOMETHING HE WROTE
[I like doing this because…well, he’s cool and you guys should be reading his stuff. Check it out!]
Art and creation, sculpture and goddesses, blood-drinking with or without foreign plots, musical instruments made from bone, Cinderella and sleeping beauties, women who keep pets, insects and UFOs, ghouls as servants and restless undead. And Isis herself as both weeping mother and vulture-winged icon of death and destruction. These are among the subjects you’ll meet in the seventeen stories (plus opening poem) in James Dorr’s latest collection The Tears of Isis.
Others have spoken about The Tears of Isis on Amazon:
“I like a different spin on dark themes and mythology and every story has one. Each tale has a killer twist, deep dark intrigue and/or something disturbing to make you shiver.”
–Natasha Ewendt (South Australia)
“These stories aren’t for the fainthearted. James Dorr knows how to spin a tale of horror. It’s not just in the gore or the odd characters, but the way he can twist the plot and shock you with the frightening truth. Dorr has a quirky style that makes this collection unlike any other.”
“The Tears of Isis is a collection of skillfully crafted dark fiction by a wordsmith that knows how to make you smile while you shiver.”
“I love these stories! Tears of Isis is a keeper.”
— Margaret B. Boston “Reader in Florida” (Florida)