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Michael Heavey as Bram Stoker and Ciaran McGlynn as Louis Carlysle in "Dr. Seward's Dracula."
Posted: Oct. 21, 2012 at 9:30 p.m.
DUBLIN, Ireland & ANN ARBOR Ė This will be a memorable week for local playwright Joseph Zettelmaier, who will have works staged on two continents.
Following the success of its staged reading in July 2012, The Break-Away Project presents "Dr. Seward's Dracula" by Zettelmaier in the Crypt, Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland. Theatergoers will mingle with special guests including Dracula's Bride and Frankenstein for this special Halloween Theatre Party on Friday, Oct. 26. Doors to the Crypt open at 6:45 p.m. Enter at your own risk! The suggested Dress Code is Gothic Monster!
In "Dr. Seward's Dracula," Seward has cut himself off from the rest of the world after losing his lover and friends to Dracula. He has been contacted by the Irish author Bram Stoker, who wishes to tell his story. Soon, a series of murders occur, very similar to the ones Seward fought to stop. The doctor must face demons both real and imagined to find the answers.
Information about the production may be obtained by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then, on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m., the world premiere of Zettelmaier's spookiest script ever, "The Gravedigger," will be presented as a staged reading at Performance Network Theatre in Downtown Ann Arbor. Audiences are encouraged to discuss the script after the performance to voice their opinion on the new work to the playwright!
"The Gravedigger" is set in the late 1700s. In one of Bavaria's forgotten cemeteries, a lone gravedigger discovers a hideously scarred man hiding in a fresh grave. What the gravedigger doesn't know is that the man is none other than the legendary monster created by a mad doctor. What the scarred man doesn't know is the gravedigger's hand in his creation. And what neither men know is that they are hunted by their shared past in this tale of gothic horror and suspense.
Zettelmaier says the script is inspired by the pages of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein." "The Gravedigger" will be directed by Julia Glander; the cast includes Alex Leydenfrost, Tom Mahard, Matt David and Charlyn Swarthout.
A staged reading is a performance of a new play (often on its first draft) in which the actors perform the piece with actual scripts in hand. Performance Network is a seasoned facilitator of this type of event with "The Fireside of New Works Festival," a triannual festival of four staged readings. Audience participation is crucial to these events due to the open discussion about the piece after the performance. Comments are submitted directly to the playwright who uses the feedback to mold their newest masterpiece.
Zettelmaier is a Michigan-based playwright and three-time nominee for the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Award for best new play, first in 2006 for "All Childish Things," then in 2007 for "Language Lessons" and in 2010 for "It Came From Mars." Other plays include "Dead Man's Shoes," "And The Creek Donít Rise," "The All Childish Things Trilogy," "Dr. Seward's Dracula," "First Snow," "Blackwater Ballad," "Night Blooming," "Point of Origin," and "The Stillness Between Breaths." He is an associate artist at Performance Network, and an adjunct lecturer at Eastern Michigan University, where he teaches dramatic composition. Zettelmaier was recently profiled in the March 2012 issue of American Theatre Magazine.
Tickets ($7-$10) can be ordered at the Performance Network Box Office at 734-663-0681, online at www.performancenetwork.org or at Performance Network Theatre (120 East Huron St., Ann Arbor, 48104) Monday-Saturday 11 a.m. -6 p.m. or one hour before a performance.