The Island Moving Company’s “Dracula” ballet production this past October held at Seaview Terrace was a collaboration that truly exemplified the essence of what we wish to achieve. It was the meshing of two visions that created an experience nothing short of awe inspiring excellence. We look forward to many more productions such as this to bring the house alive for common enjoyment. Our sincere appreciation to all involved to bring this dream to...
Along the Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island, Seaview Terrace, also known as the Carey Mansion, stands as the largest privately owned ‘Summer Cottage’ of the Gilded Age. At approximately 40,000 square feet, it is the fifth largest of the Newport mansions, only after the Breakers, Ochre Court, Belcourt Castle and Rough Point. The majority of the house was originally built in DuPont Circle in Washington, DC by liquor baron Edson Bradley in 1907,...
The time has come to restore Seaview Terrace’s grandeur and create an opportunity for this truly unique and irreplaceable architectural gem. The objective is to seize its role as a viable and harmonious contributor to its environment, while maintaining a use in which the building will thrive without desecration. The goal of Seaview C.A.R.E.S. is to fund the restoration and preservation of Seaview Terrace so it may facilitate the education of...
The past preserved to benefit the future
DRACULA, A Dangerously Close Dance
Wow the ISLAND MOVING COMPANY’S huge production of DRACULA at the CAREY MANSION is fantastic and totally worth the price of a ticket ($90.00) if you can afford it. It’s cool, period, sexy, bohemian and soooo NEWPORT.
That ‘DARK SHADOWS’ house is just the best setting for this MIKI OLSEN piece. I’ve seen SEAVIEW many times before but it’s unrecognizable here. ANNIE SHERMAN LUKE of NEWPORT LIFE MAGAZINE was in the audience. She’d seen the show a few times and said she loved it, eyeing the mansion’s architectural details as we spoke. It’s a much better venue than if it were done on stage, each room offering up a different, wild backdrop. The entire place is lit-up all Halloweenie, chandeliers a flickering, the mansion’s eccentricities being a big part of the show! MIKI OLSEN, the ballet director said she loved staging it there.
A live mini-ORCHESTRA with the young composer, FELIX VENTAUROUS who fares from N.Y. (East village), plays his STRAVINSKY-esque score on the piano with a bunch of young musicians, a super-fun PERCUSSIONIST and a STRING QUARTET. Surprisingly, my cousin, JOHN BENDER (Susan Walsh Bender’s son, Ray’s daughter), who just graduated from music school last year was playing CELLO.
These guys are all over the place, up on balconies, staircases, this room, that room, while dancers hide behind that weird GOTHIC architecture warning you,” Don’t Go In There, Don’t Go In There!” It’s a fresh, fun, inter-active show (thus the “ Dangerously Close” caption on the tickets).
A silent black-and-white movie pops-up as part of the narrative. One scene incorporates these sort of Cirque-De-Soleil acrobatics over a doublebed that’s scary. Freaked me out! These guys and gals are about 3 flights up on the ceiling, twisting and turning and it’s un-nerving (“Please don’t fall”).
JASON STOTZ, the sexy, good looking lead as DRACULA, red cape flowing, is an excellent dancer, along with his 2 (3?) female leads, pretty BROOKE DeFRANCESCO, long time I.M.C. dancer CHRISTINE SANDORFI and a dancer I‘d never seen, DANIELLE GENEST! Add his rival, SHANE FARRELL, all the zillions of I.M.C DANCERS, ex-dancers, “friends of”, and ballet students who make appearances through-out, most dancing in the opening, masque-ball scene ‘circa’ Hungarian Count’s residence and your immediately transcend-dead to another time.
The score of this enthusiastic, young, kind-of-avant-garde ORCHESTRA eerily strains underneath this folklore-ish dance, costumes all befitting to this fantasy time and place. It’s a nifty one and half hour’s long that just zips by, with a short intermission-bar offering-up a glass of wine or bottled water.
From beginning to end, this ballet simply makes you feel good about tricks and treats .
MIKI OLSEN and I have the same philosophy regarding THE ARTS in Newport, You got to MAKE IT HAPPEN and you got to MAKE IT WORK! Boy do MIKI, DOMINIQUE ALFANDRE, the entire ISLAND MOVING COMPANY STAFF, VOLUNTEERS, LIGHTING GUYS, SOUND GUYS, COSTUME MAKERS, and everyone involved,make this original production HAPPEN and really MAKE IT WORK! Only in Newport. IT’S GREAT!!!Learn More
The world of the un-dead is making its way across southern Rhode Island these dark nights. Bill Gale says that’s a good thing.
Ah, yes, well, you know—‘tis the season. No, not that one. Not the one with the chubby guy in a red suit with a white beard.
No, we speak here with trepidation of the nights of orange and black, of costumes, and tricking and treating and of –drum roll, please– Vlad the Impaler better known as Dracula.
There are two versions of Bram Stoker’s story of malevolence and love on either side of Narragansett Bay. And they could hardly be more different. At the newly re-named Courthouse Center Stage in Kingston they are doing a Dracula that is all melodrama.
But in yet another mansion in Newport, the Island Moving Company is dancing to a Dracula that is both fanciful and sensual. Take your choice. Both productions are worth seeing.
In Kingston, the formerly named Courthouse Center for the Arts presents a production that, at first, seems stolid, a mere re-telling of the old Transylvanian tale in a straightforward, very Victorian manner. Its arch, old fashioned approach makes you yearn for the parody of the 1977 Dracula with Frank Langella on Broadway.
But slowly, deliberately Director Richard Ericson and a good cast mold this fragile piece into something more powerful, more cogent. This Dracula begins to speak of good versus evil, of fear and bravery, at once.
Surely, the moments of a beheading, of a stake being driven into a heart, are difficult to seem real today. But the passion of the Dracula story, its never-dying view that the world contains more than we can know of good and evil, comes across.
Stephan Goldbach provides a silently crazed Dracula. He is someone you can believe as a stricken killer, a man possessed beyond our comprehension. The onetime Trinity Rep actor, Keith Jochim, brings us a Dr.Van Helsing who is both prissy and provocative. There is a appropriately dark and weighty wooden set and music from Bela Bartok that could hardly be more appropriate.
Yes, the Kingston show is a melodrama of melodramas. But the intertwining of evil versus good still can have a powerful hold.
Across the Bay, director Miki Ohlsen of the Island Moving Company has taken a different Dracula trip. A couple of years ago she presented a flamboyant, driving Dracula at Newport’s Belcourt Castle. Now the production has moved to a less well known but just as baroque pile off Bellevue Avenue called Seaview. There, once again, huge high-ceilinged rooms provide a proper setting for Transylvanian transgressions. Island Moving, of course, is a dance company and so this production is far from the play in Kingston. As the audience moves from room to room, reassembling itself a half dozen or so times during the hour and 45 minute show, there’s a feeling of dislocation, of new adventures all the time.
This danced Dracula is a most un-Victorian thing. There’s a terrific score written and conducted by Felix Ventouras which helps turn Dracula into a sensual ever-
The story itself wavers far from the Bram Stoker original. A bedroom scene, for instance sees four furious and deadly un-dead women extend downward from the ceiling on white sheets. They attack. The result is sensual and scary.
Seaview, by the way, bills itself as Newport’s “Dark Shadows” mansion. That certainly works for this dancing version of Dracula.
Dracula continues at the Seaview mansion in Newport through Sunday. In Kingston, Dracula runs at the Courthouse Center Stage through October 31. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio.Learn More