IMITATING The Dog directors Andrew Quick and Pete Brooks are staging their production of Dracula: The Untold Story as a live graphic novel.
Their new high-tech hybrid play is inspired by Bram Stoker’s classic gothic horror novel but, in an interesting twist, is told from the perspective of Mina Harker: “in many ways an archetypal late-Victorian woman in the book, but a modern heroine – some might even say vigilante – on stage,” they suggest.
Running at Leeds Playhouse until October 9 at the outset of a tour to November 13, the co-production with the Playhouse combines cutting-edge digital technology with live performance.
Leeds company Imitating The Dog have made this theatre technique their own, not least in Night Of The Living Dead – Remix, their 2020 co-production with Leeds Playhouse wherein they lovingly recreated George A Romero’s cult zombie film frame-by-frame live on stage.
Graphic novels have always influenced Imitating The Dog’s work, where the pulp narratives of detective, sci-fi and horror fiction has provided rich source material for their big screen projections and live camera work.
For Dracula: The Untold Story, they also are utilising the latest face recognition technology to create live, large-scale graphic novel layouts that switch seamlessly between 2D and 3D as the pages turn and the three-strong cast explores – and updates – the classic yarn.
No longer a 19th century gothic tale, Imitating The Dog’s brash, vivid and fast-moving play is set in Sixties’ London, with pared-back dialogue and bursts of action that will “grab audiences by the throat and not let go”.
Head back to New Year’s Eve, 1965, London, England. Just before midnight, as revellers celebrate the beginning of another year, a young woman enters Marylebone Police Station and confesses to a brutal murder.
She claims to be Mina Harker, the last living survivor of the intrepid group that witnessed Count Dracula’s destruction 70 years before. But Mina Harker has not been seen since 1901. And if she was alive, she would be ninety years old.
As Mina confesses to events that are much more terrifying than in the original, she retells the events of Bram Stoker’s classic novel. She claims it is the true story. The untold story. And she must tell it now, before sunrise, before it’s too late, before…October 9, if you want to see it in Leeds.
Tickets are on sale on 0113 213 7700 or at leedsplayhouse.org.