This article first appeared in Texas Lifestyle Magazine on October 9, 2019.
Arriving in time for the Halloween season, Steven Dietz’s “Dracula” is a 21st century spin on an old, wickedly seductive tale, playing at Austin’s ZACH Theatre.
The Dracula-esque atmosphere begins in the eerily transformed lobby of ZACH, revamped by weaving fortune tellers, ghost stories and costumed theater staff into the dark and ominous retelling of the fable. Audiences will momentarily feel as though they’ve been carried away into the pages of Bram Stoker’s original Gothic tale.
Yet, Dietz’s thoughtful and haunting interpretation brings a female-focused lens to a classic by giving us a new look at this dark love story. Spoiler alert: As both writer and director of his all-new adaptation, Dietz has no damsel in distress for this production.
Dietz has written over 41 original pieces and adaptations in his acclaimed career, including “Dracula” in 1996. His 2019 version, however, reflects the perspective of Mina (the object of the bloodsucking count’s desire) and the measures she takes to ensure her safety as well as the safety of those around her.
“I am delighted to revisit my established adaptation of ‘Dracula.’ This version seeks to deliver all the luscious fear of the original, while making Mina the central detective in charge,” says Dietz, who is also a playwriting and directing professor at the University of Texas in Austin.
Mina, played by Sarah Kimberley Becker, is a bold heroine who dares to defy the ruler of the night played by Keith Contreras-McDonald. As Dracula tries to infiltrate the thoughts and minds of the people in London, Mina sets out with steadfast courage to uncover the mystery surrounding her unwanted suitor.
Steven Dietz’s “Dracula” kicks off the 2019-20 season for ZACH’s Mainstage Series now through November 3. Recommended for ages 13 and up.