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Sixth Form Trip to See Dracula at the London Library

What better way to celebrate St Valentine’s day than a trip to watch a theatrical adaptation of one of literature’s most terrifying narratives in the gothic surroundings of the London library? Bram Stoker himself was a member of the library and a collection of the books he consulted there for his infamous masterpiece had recently been discovered. It was fascinating to see his own little pencil marks and turned down pages corresponding with passages in the real novel and we all enjoyed perusing these works; particularly Gould’s Book of Were-Wolves!
The play was staged in one of the intimate upper libraries (no more that thirty in the audience) and the space was transformed into a shadowy gothic room with canvas projections on which Dracula’s claws, little spiders and the eerie ghost of Lucy appeared. There was a large canvas covering one of the windows on which two red eyes shone intermittently and a video projection of a little bat flew accompanied by real flapping sounds at the window; this was not for the faint-hearted! At one point the actors actually climbed out the window heading for the dark night! Dracula is an epic tale with myriad characters and settings from London to Romania and the Criterion theatre company had expertly distilled the novel with just two actors seamlessly transforming into the different roles. Dracula himself was never portrayed but revealed through a chilling use of echoing voices and graphics. Some of the students were outraged that the ending did not chime with the original text as the play indicated Dracula’s cosmic and malign influence had not been quashed! Overall an excellent production and I hope the students will feel more confident in writing about the considerable influence Dracula still has to thrill and terrify audiences today.