Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Blood Countess

Review by Paola Hornbuckle 

The Blood CountessElizabeth Bathory, one of the most prolific serial killers and vampires, is the subject of a new play by Kevin Six. The Blood Countess, produced by DangerHouse Productions is now playing at Victory Theatre. Bathory has long been overshadowed by Count Dracula, but Kevin Six is going to make sure she gets the credit she deserves. In this fun and zany production, we get a history lesson (powerpoint slides included), a visit to her Transylvanian castle, a crash course in vampire psychology (pretty weird) and at the end we are not sure if the main characters were dreaming or tripping, and we are not sure if we are dreaming or tripping either as we watch the actions unfold...or did they?
Carla Navarro Is the Blood CountessThree college students with a passion for the occult plan a rave in Bathory’s Transylvanian castle. Ilona Black (Brigette Erpelding), Dot Sainz (Elisa Gonzales), and Darcy Sainz (Justine Hince) are ready to party! They have a DJ, Janos Ujvary (Erik Cram), a tub in honor of Elizabeth Bathory who bathed in the blood of young virgins to stay young, and want to get the rave going - but first a few ominous characters make an appearance. An amazingly real reproduction of Elizabeth Bathory’s statue is in the lobby - she talks and participates in the play via live video. Throughout the play we meet the Transylvanian Minister of Culture (Tony Beville) who is suspiciously long in the tooth and later The Blood Countess herself (Carla Navarro) where we get to see her cozy in her tub and enjoying “The Blood.”
The Blood CountessThe plot surfs on the surface of the subject at hand, and we never really get a real understanding of anyone’s motivations, but I don’t think we were meant to. Comedic and skit-like with a serious subject, and perhaps that is an interesting take for such a gruesome person, flirting between reality and imagination, hinting at motivations and possible ramifications but never really going there – I mean were the three girls reincarnations of Bathory’s servants? We nevertheless get an interesting, at times silly and at times perverse, glimpse into the world of this unique and evil woman. We do sense her power since by the end of the play all the characters onstage are under her spell, doing her bidding, or confused as hell. What one senses is that she was a magnetic gravitational force that compelled others to orbit around her and her twisted purposes, like good villains do. Then again evil can be glamorous. “This is what you get if you mess with vampires!” is the final line and perhaps the main message of this unique, puzzling, and interesting play. The Blood Countess runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at Victory Theatre, 2558 Imperial

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