- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Years of sitting in the audience, scribbling notes for his reviews, led to Tim Treanor turning the tables on himself and sinking his teeth in to the story of a classic villain ... or as Treanor sees him, just a creature who happens to be the most powerful force on Earth.
His play “Dracula. A Love Story,” is being staged in the ninth annual Capital Fringe Festival.
The Bram Stoker classic is a story about rapture, he said.
“Only two people have ever said, ‘If you drink my blood, you will live forever.’ One of those was Dracula,” Treanor said. “There are some things in the story that have never been explored.”
Dracula is an apex predator, and to an apex predator everything else is prey, Treanor said.
“Humans consider ourselves apex predators ... but what if we were not?” he asked. “How would we feel about [Dracula]? We don’t think about the squid when we sit down to calamari. We don’t think about if she had kids, how she felt swimming in those cold waters. The Dracula legend gives me an opportunity to explore.”
The Fringe Festival is a nice fit for Treanor’s take on the classic character.
“The Capital Fringe Festival encourages writers and performers to take artistic risks, to try things they wouldn’t be able to do with professional productions the rest of the year,” Treanor’s wife, Lorraine, editor and publisher of D.C. Theatre Scene, a Washington, D.C.-based website dedicated to theater, said.
“At Capital Fringe, for a reasonable cost, artists can try out new things, and audience members get a chance to see a show they wouldn’t get to see otherwise. This year, you can see comedies, dramas, cabarets, dance and rock shows,” she said.
And tickets are only $17.
“The Fringe Festival invites audience to experiment for a minimal price,” Treanor said. “What you see might be absolutely fabulous. It might be kind of lousy.”
No matter what, the average theatergoer will experience something different and might learn something, he said.
“You will get to see stuff that you will see no where else,” Treanor said. “Some will be crazy. Some will be terrible. Who cares? There’s an element of risk. That’s part of the adventure.”
“Dracula. A Love Story.” tells the story of Vlad Tepes, a K Street lobbyist, who has plenty of prey, but has one problem — his wife Mina is dying.
Tepes, who is Dracula, turns his attention to Lucy, a graduate student while his nemesis, Eva Calderone, is on his trail.
It is directed by Chris Henley and Jay Hardee, who have brought much to the production.
“The director is key,” Treanor said.
He took the play as far as he could as the writer and turned it over to the directors and actors to add their touches.
“Actors can convey words with just a look,” Treanor said. “They come in ready to work and with an understanding of their character.”
Treanor said the collaboration has been so great among him, the directors, cast and others that it has evolved from Treanor’s original play.
“I would say its not completely my play,” he said. “They made it stronger.”
He embarked on the “Dracula” play in 2003 working on it and reworking on it with the help of The Playwrights Forum, a group that supports playwrights in the D.C., area, and friends at the Port Tobacco Theater.
Treanor’s history with PTP (he was a member through 2006) included roles as Lord Capulet in “Romeo and Juliet,” Matthew Harrison Brady in “Inherit the Wind” and John Hancock in “1776.”
But “I was a mediocre actor,” he said.
Writing is the creative outlet he prefers.
“I was drawn to him because he is a writer,” Lorraine said. “We got to know each other when I critiqued an earlier novel he wrote. Not only is he imaginative, he has a really dark sense of humor that’s there, even in his scariest writing.”
Treanor started writing in high school when he got a typewriter.
“I like to tell stories,” he said.
His day job is much more mundane, Treanor said.
He’s a lawyer.
“This is how I get to explore the things that turn out to be important to me,” he said of writing.
He has written plays and a novel and has penned nearly 600 reviews for the D.C. Theatre Scene.
His big project is the Life and Death series of novels starting with “The Seduction of Braulio Jules” which he started in 1988.
“I’ve had the opportunity to make every mistake I could,” he said of penning the novel. “And I took it.”
“From my desk across from his, I watch him sit down at the computer, like a pianist ready to perform,” Lorraine said. “And, whether he’s writing a new chapter for a novel, revising the play or writing a theater review ... the thoughts just pour out.”