A `Drakula' from inside the family

Premiere: David Drake attempts to trace his bloodline to Vlad the Impaler in a show coming to the Theatre Project.


April 04, 2002|By J. Wynn Rousuck | J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC

Son of Drakula, the new one-man show by Obie Award-winning former Marylander David Drake, will make its world premiere at the Theatre Project May 16.

The autobiographical show was inspired by a genealogical quest that took Drake (whose original surname was "Drakula") to Eastern Europe where he explored links to Vlad the Impaler. In the tradition of Drake's award-winning off-Broadway hit, The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me, which was filmed at the Theatre Project in 1999, the new work also examines personal, political and psychological issues.

"Embedded throughout," Drake explained by e-mail, "is a memory play - flashbacks to key familial events in my childhood ... nearly all of which transpire on Maryland's Route 40."

Directed by Chuck Brown and co-produced by New York's Dance Theater Workshop and Alaska's Out North Arts Group, the show will be presented in New York next fall and in Alaska the following winter.

Originally announced as part of the Theatre Project's 2000-2001 season, Son of Drakula was postponed in part so that Drake could attend last year's World Dracula Congress in Romania. At the conference, he delivered a paper about his search for his Dracula-related roots. With no definitive answers yet, Drake says, "The mystery continues ... "

Son of Drakula will run May 16-June 1, at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, at the Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St. Tickets are $20. Call 410-752-8558.

Shakespeare Theatre

The 2002-2003 season at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington will be capped by a production of Ibsen's Ghosts, starring Jane Alexander, the Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress who played quite a different role in Washington - as head of the National Endowment for the Arts - from 1993 to 1997.

The five-play season, announced by artistic director Michael Kahn, will also include three Shakespeare plays - a romance, a comedy and a history - as well as the Washington debut of a rarely produced farce by one of Shakespeare's contemporaries, Ben Jonson.

Here's the lineup: Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale (Aug. 27-Oct. 20), starring Philip Goodwin as King Leontes; Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing (Nov. 5-Jan. 5), co-produced by Connecticut's Hartford Stage; Jonson's The Silent Woman (Jan. 21-March 9), directed by Kahn; Shakespeare's Richard III (March 25-May 18), starring Wallace Acton; and Ibsen's Ghosts (June 3-July 27), recently translated by Lanford Wilson.

Five-play subscriptions range from $145 to $325. Call 202-547-1122.

Rebecca Rice

Rebecca Rice, an associate artist at Center Stage and at Arena Stage in Washington, died yesterday after a short illness.

The Washington-based actress and writer was the author of several plays, two of which received staged readings at Center Stage, where she was also an active leader working with young people in the Theater for a New Generation program.

By 1998, when Rice starred as Mama in Olney Theatre Center's production of A Raisin in the Sun, she had played all three female roles in the Lorraine Hansberry classic over the course of her career. "This play ... made me believe I could be in theater, that I could have a life in the theater," Rice said at the time.

A talented woman whose work instilled audiences of all ages with the vitality of theater, Rice will be greatly missed. Funeral plans were incomplete at press time.

Performance conference

"The Performing Artist: Responses to the Maturing Process," a conference sponsored by MedChi, will take place 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday at 1211 Cathedral St.

In addition to such issues as hearing and vision, the conference will offer a chance to learn about the art of Pilates and T'ai Chi, which help maintain flexibility and prevent injury. The keynote speaker is Stewart Warkow, a New York agent. Fees range from $15 to $60. Call 800-492-1056, Ext. 203.

Richard Rodgers tribute

As its second annual fund-raiser, Pumpkin Theatre will present "A Salute to 100 Years of Richard Rodgers' Music." The evening will be highlighted by a musical revue narrated by Charmian Carr, who starred as Liesl in the Academy Award-winning movie version of The Sound of Music.

Todd Pearthree, Pumpkin's producer/director, says Carr, who has written two books about her experiences with the role, is also expected to sing a section of her character's big number, "Sixteen Going on Seventeen."

The benefit, which includes dinner and an auction, will be held 7 p.m.-11 p.m., April 20, at L'Hirondelle Club, 7611 L'Hirondelle Road. Tickets are $90 ($55 of which is tax-deductible). Call 410-828-1814.

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