Sunday, November 7, 2010

Show #62 "The Transylvanian Clockworks" by The Outfit Theatre Project

I guess everybody loves a good vampire. Or at least they all seem to love a good vampire story. This is what the folks with The Outfit Theatre Project are counting on, especially this time of year.

Yes, Halloween has come and gone, but The Outfit's run of "The Transylvanian Clockworks" lives on, until Nov. 14th, that is. And it is quite an entertaining tale. It should be, it's the story of Dracula.

Although this play was written by Don Nigro, it is essentially a new and different take on Bram Stoker's classic story. Most of the main characters are the same. Whether this was written in the script, or was the invention of the director's vision, "Clockworks" takes on a steam punk look to it.

Hmmmm...there seems to be a trend here. This past week I watched both a staged reading and a fully-staged show with the steam punk and clockwork themes. A coincidence? Yes. A significant trend? Maybe.

I got to admit, before this year, I didn't even know what "steam punk" was. I had never heard that expression before. Had I seen stories/movies that incorporated such themes? Probably. Did I think I was witnessing something within the sci-fi genre that qualifies as a "movement"? No.

But, after googling the term and seeing what the internet gurus had to say about this phenomenon, it told me that it is considered closely connected to the sci-fi and fantasy genres. So, it makes sense that this "out look" would be employed for Maggie Lee's "The Clockwork Professor." This is sci-fi!

But to employ this with the Dracula tale is surprising. Surprising and refreshing, and probably an appropriate way for a new generation to view this old horror tale. In my opinion, Dracula's story can easily become campy for today's audiences, especially in live theatre. But to make this vampire's story a bit of an anachronism, that might sell it to me.

The only problem I had last evening with "Clockworks" was the late night hour. The show was part two of a double feature at Tacoma LIttle Theatre. After enjoying "Eleemosynary" we stayed to watch "Clockworks" at 10pm.

It was too late for this sleepyhead to think real hard. But not too late for me to appreciate the entertainment value of this show.

Photography courtesy of Scott Campbell of Tacoma Little Theatre

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