in General

Whatever happened to my Transylvanian Twist?

From: J&C Myers

Cc: Charles McKeithan

It was great meeting you at last Saturday’s ball, John, and fun dancing with you (You’re much too modest about your dance skills!). Yes, Charles is right: PEERS does need another leading man (we have some great character actors and some cute juveniles but it will be some years before they’re romantic lead materials!). If you’d like to come and play with us when your schedule permits, we’d be overjoyed!

So on to the next event we’re trying to seduce you into doing:

Those are great photos, by the way! If you can do Dracula, you can certainly do perfect justice to the character of Lestat – assuming you’re available and still interested and want to do the gig. Here’s a link to the ball’s official page. The date is Saturday, February 5, and, though the acting is mostly improvisational, we’d like to get in one evening rehearsal-cum-dinner before the ball.

Lestat de Lioncourt is a complex character. Only one side of him is shown in the film version of “Interview with a Vampire” and Tom Cruise did just fine with the one dimenstion the screenplay let him have. In the later Anne Rice novels, Lestat emerges as a much more three-dimensional character. Unlike Dracula, he prides himself on hunting the evil doer. In tallying up his virtues, however, Lestat does not, however, always take into account the number of hearts he’s broken and the number of lives he’s ruined. He’s – even for a vampire – egotistical and narcissistic, fully aware of his own beauty, talent and charm. (I know that’s a stretch for Charles but he’s a trooper).

Please do let me know whether you’d like to do the role. We will schedule the character rehearsal around your schedule and will find a Peninsula or Southbay location for it since all but one of the actors playing principal characters at the ball live either on the Peninsula or in the South Bay – a real first for us! Most of the rest of the PEERS gang is from the East Bay.

The challenge of playing Lestat would be that you’d be working not just with seasoned professionals like Arthur Pruyn and Beth George but also with two inexperienced young actors playing Lestat’s “family” – the handsome but guilt-stricken Louis and Claudia, the exquisite child vampire. Tui (our Claudia) is the most beautiful child actress I’ve ever seen and a trained dancer as well. She’s played Little Nell at Dickens Fair for two years now and takes direction very well and her British upbringing really shows. She is, however, a little intimidated about being the ball’s co-hostess and would definitely need some attention and encouragement from you (Beth and Arthur will help, of course). Jeff Jenkins (Louis) has had a lot of stage experience but not much with improv (he looks good, which helps), so he’d also need some gentle guidance from Lestat.

Now that’s the ball itself. Within the ball we have a one act play from the Theater of the Vampires, which will be performed at half-time. The conceit (in the Anne Rice novels) is that the actors in Le Theatre des Vampires are vampires pretending to be humans pretending to be vampires (“How avant guarde!” is Claudia’s comment in the film). Anyway, I THINK we have Charles’ character in the play re-cast (he was originally set to play both Lestat the host and the hero of the play), but if that falls through, is that something you’d be interested in? It’s a 25 minute piece and, of course, that’s a lot to master in less than a month, and we’d be having at least two rehearsals – plus a pre-ball rehearsal on the evening of the ball.

But do let me know if you’re interested. It’s a fun Victorian melodrama based on a trifling but fun vampire story by novelist Marie Elizabeth Braddon, a friend of Charles Dickens.

I know, of course, that you’re busy with a new production and Charles also mentioned that you have another writing project, but if you find you can’t manage to fit our February 5 event into your schedule, we do have lots of other events in the works. Check our 2005 schedule and see if anything interests you. If you’re free, for example, March 5 (also a Saturday) – our Romeo & Juliet Ball – is also a role-playing intensive ball. We’re simply spending the entire evening portraying the characters (and extras) at Lord Capulet’s Ball and will, of course, do some Shakespearean scenes at intermission along with our improv work. Charles is Mercutio. We really need a strong Tybalt as a foil. Interested?

Our biggest pure theatrical project of the year is our November 5 (also a Saturday) Le Bal des Vampires, at which Le Theatre des Vampires always performs at half-time. It’s usually a fully costumed one act play and, thanks very much to Charles and our ensemble, the acting’s pretty impressive. Anyway, if something like this interests you, please let me know. Of course, you’d probably have to commit before seeing the script but that’s the life of our non-profit, volunteer organization! But I’m usually pretty good at meeting script deadlines.

Anyway, please check your schedule and let me know what your availability is for the above-mentioned events.

Fondest regards,

Cathleen

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