|"Dracula" 1987. |
Lily Vakili as Lucy Westenra.
Presented in winter, 1987, Bram Stoker's classic horror novel Dracula was brought to the Children's Theatre Company stage in a script by resident playwright Thomas W. Olson (completing his "horror trilogy," having previously written the scripts for CTC's productions of "Phantom of the Opera" (1982) and "Frankenstein" (1984)). The play was directed by artistic director Jon Cranney with music composed, orchestrated, directed, and performed (along with Susan Marvin-Locke on cello) by Alan Shorter (a Herculean task, beautifully rendered). Scenic and costume designs by guest artist Pavel Dobrusky, lighting design by Jon Baker (his final design for CTC), and sound design by Scott Edwards.
The cast included former Children's
students Charity Jones as Mina Murray and Lily Vakili as Lucy Westenra, longtime resident acting company members Gerald Drake as Jack Seward and Carl Beck as Renfield, along with J.C. Cutler as Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, Todd C. Johnson as Jonathan Harker, Doug Korblick as Arthur Holmwood, and Jefferson Slinkard as Count Dracula. The remainder of the cast included Sally J. Sundstrom, Bradley W. Nordstrand, Rosalie Tenseth, James Peck, Meredith Orr, Susan Westberg, and Timothy Hendrickson. Theatre School
Click on audio link and listen.
Music clip 1: Transylvania (Mina's Nightmare):
(A nightmare sequence of images and scenes with music underscore.
(HARKER, traveling valise in hand, stands alone in swirling, moonlit fog before a large door, looking about nervously at the sounds of the night. Above him, barely distinguishable,
a human-sized bat hanging upside-down at rest. HARKER is unaware of it. HARKER knocks on the door. Bat stirs and reveals a human face before disappearing. Door swings open. Candelabrum sputters into flame -- held by an elderly white-haired aristocrat.)
DRACULA. Jonathan Harker?
HARKER. I am.
DRACULA. Welcome to Castle Dracula. Enter freely and of your own will.
(Harker steps in; door slams shut. Blackout.
(Music up. Candelabra sputter into flame -- candles nearly burnt completely down. Dracula finishes reading and signs several documents as Harker indicates. Harker, seated before table setting of a completed supper for one, is peeling an apple with a pocket knife.)
HARKER. Your new property in England should make for you a home very different than here in Transylvania.
DRACULA. Yes. I have grown lonely here.
IIARKER. The streets of London are forever crowded with people.
DRACULA. Good. I am fond of people.
(As Dracula hands the signed documents back to Harker, Harker accidentally cuts his finger with the pocket knife. Dracula grabs Harker’s hand - mesmerized by the blood. Rooster crow and red ray of dawn streaks through window. Dracula abruptly releases Harker and bows goodbye. Harker, puzzled, sucks his wounded finger. Dracula turns back to observe before exiting. Blackout.
(Ray of sunset, from opposite angle, enters window and illumines Harker, dressed in traveling gear with valise in hand, pacing. Wolves howl in distance. Fireplace suddenly bursts into full flame and casts light on Dracula, stepping forth from the shadows. Harker rushes toward him, eager to be let go.)
HARKER. My business here is ended. I must return to England at once.
(Dracula takes Harker’s valise and tosses it into fireplace. Harker tries to make his way past Dracula; Dracula raises his hand in a gesture to prevent Harker’s exit; the young man is supernaturally hurled backward by the gesture. Harker cowers in fear, then rushes to window and pounds against the locked panes -- he realizes he is trapped. Wolves howl. Harker turns back toward room to discover Dracula has disappeared. Instead, a bat swoops above Harker’s head. Window bursts open and bat exits into the moonlit night. Harker runs back to fireplace and, with a poker, salvages from the smoldering valise a small, silver-framed portrait of Mina and a Bible which contains a silver crucifix on a chain tucked within it. He rubs off the ashes from the glass of the portrait with his sleeve. He regards it lovingly and sets the portrait on the table as he sits and, placing crucifix on table also, takes a pencil, tears a piece of paper from his journal, and begins to write a letter.)
HARKER. Mina, my dearest Mina, I fear I am a prisoner…
(He writes a few hurried lines.)
I love you.
(He folds the letter and addresses it.)
Miss Wilhemina Murray. West Cliff. Whitby. England.
(Harker lets his face drop down on his arm and his body heaves with sobs. The distant sound of a woman sobbing. Sound of wolves snarling. Woman screams.)
WOMAN. (Offstage, crying out in Romanian.) Ajutor! Puiul mamei! Da-mi inapoi copilul! Bestie! (Harker runs to the window and covers his eyes at the horror he sees below and the not-so-distant sound of screams and the snarling of a wolf dismembering its kill. The smoldering, white ashes in the fireplace begin to swirl and from up out of the grate rise three beautiful young women, dressed in white -- the Brides. They step out of the fireplace and slowly approach Harker. Dracula appears from over the windowsill, his mouth trickling blood; he is carrying a burlap sack which contains a small wriggling form. Dracula steps forward and gestures for the Brides to keep away from Harker, tossing them the sack which, by the sound of an infant wailing within, we deduce contains a baby. Brides greedily exit with sack. Dracula notices portrait of Mina, then the letter which he refolds and puts in his pocket. Dracula steps toward Harker, the young man cowers in fear. Dracula hovers over him and reaches for Harker’s neck; Harker finds the crucifix on the table and Dracula snarls and recoils at the sight of it. Harker lifts the crucifix in front of him and moves toward Dracula. Dracula swiftly turns and runs to the window, leaping into the night. Harker rushes after him to watch, horrified and in doubt of his sanity, as his eyes follow Dracula not downward, but upward. He rushes back to the table, takes the portrait and journal, then cautiously exits out onto the window ledge. Blackout.
(Waning light reveals Two Peasants shoveling dirt into wooden coffins in a crypt at the base of a tall stone stairway. Harker appears in doorway at top of stairway and observes. He sneaks down stairs but, midway down, hears a sound above. He hops off stairs and presses himself against wall in an attempt to hide. A Third Peasant appears in doorway and urgently gestures for the other two to quit their work. They speak in Romanian.)
PEASANT I. (To PEASANT II.) Asta-I ultima roaba de pamant. Iute! Sa iesim de-aici.
PEASANT III. (Appearing in doorway.) N-ati terminat inca? Gata! Grabiti-va! Trebuie sa plecam!
PEASANT I. Dar n-am ispravit!
PEASANT III. (Gesturing at sky behind him.) Apune soarele! Grabiti-va!
PEASANT I. (To PEASANT II.) Hai sa iesim de-aici!
(Peasants drop their shovels, rush up the stairs and exit. After a moment, Harker steps out of hiding. He picks up a shovel for a weapon and begins to investigate the crypt. Peasants hurriedly return and Harker hides again. Peasant II grabs one shovel but cannot find the other. They call at one another, increasingly fearful.)
PEASANT III. Unde-s lopetile? Iute! Grabiti-va!
PEASANT II. Una lipseste. Ia-o de unde nui!
PEASANT III. Lasati-o balta. Hai sa iesim de-aici.
PEASANT II. (Aborting the search.) Doamne ajuta! Ce ne facem daca vampirul e treaz?!
(Peasant II rushes back up the stairs and closes door to portal -- the only source of light inside the crypt -- with a slam. Blackout.
(Harker strikes a match and lights a torch. Sputtering light reveals a decayed, stone sarcophagus with the inscription: “DRACULA.” With great trembling, Harker removes the lid and recoils at what he sees: Dracula as a corpse at rest. He raises the shovel to strike at Dracula but at the moment he lets the shovel blade descend, Dracula’s arm shoots upward from out of the coffin, arresting the shovel’s full force. Harker screams, stepping backward, as Dracula sits up, blood gushing from his forehead, with a howl of pain and bestial fury. Their two screams reverberate through the Blackout.)
Act I, Scene i.
(Continuous with the preceding; the cries of Harker and Dracula reverberate as thunder and flashes of lightning reveal Lucy’s bedchamber. Mina lies in bed, tossing and crying out in her nightmare.)
MINA. (Sitting up with a start.) Jonathan! Run, Jonathan! Hurry, before the sun sets! Hurry, Jonathan!
SARAH. (A chambermaid, entering, awakened.) Miss Lucy? Oh, Miss Mina. Miss Mina, wake up!
MINA. Jonathan! He’s in danger! I must help him!
SARAH. There, there… it’s only a dream. Wicked old storm’s gone and given you a nightmare. Wake up, now. See, Miss Mina? Your safe in bed. Nothing’s going to harm you.
MINA. It’s my Jonathan. He's the one in danger.
SARAH. It's only a dream, I tell you. Young Mr. Harker's far away on business. This storm can't trouble him.
MINA. No, of course not. Oh, but Sarah, never have I had a dream so real!
SARAH. You just forget all about it now. Shall I fix up a pot of warm milk then? That's what I’ll do - enough for you and Miss Lucy both.
MINA. (Regarding the empty bed beside her.) Yes, but…Lucy…where is she?
SARAH. Well now, I don't know, do I? Oh, dear – this is no kind of night for her to be about sleepwalking.
MINA. Lucy walks in her sleep?
SARAH. Yes. Been doing it most of the summer, ever since her dear Mum passed away.
(A flash of lightning, thunder. French doors burst open with a rush of wind. Immediately, another flash reveals Lucy on the balcony, laughing at the storm.)
Why, there she is – out on the balcony!
MINA. (Rushing to Lucy.) Lucy?! Lucy, come inside!
SARAH. Careful, Miss Mina. Ain't good to wake her up too quick.
LUCY. (Enraptured.) Oh, Mina - such a storm! Just feel the wind rush against you! Have you ever in your life felt anything more thrilling?
MINA. Never mind.
SARAH. (Exiting.) I’ll go fetch you a dry dressing-gown, Miss Lucy.
MINA. Come now, Lucy – get back into this room at once.
LUCY. Oh, Mina, you’re such a spoilsport!
MINA. I’m waiting.
LUCY. Just one moment more. I want to see what happens to that ship.
MINA. A ship? Out in a storm such as this?
LUCY. Yes! There! (Lucy points. A flash of lightning.) Down there, in the harbour; can’t you see?
MINA. Oh, dear Lord! Lucy, it’s going to crash! We must do something! (Sarah re-enters with nightdress.) Sarah! My clothes – quickly, please! (Sarah exits again as Mina hands Lucy the nightdress, then closes the balcony doors.)
LUCY. What do you intend to do, Mina?
MINA. I don’t know. But I can’t just stand and watch a ship go down.
LUCY. You can’t prevent it.
MINA. No. But I can be there to help the sailors… if they manage to survive.
LUCY. Yes! I’ll come with you. (Sarah returns with Mina’s clothes. Mina steps behind a dressing screen.)
MINA. Oh, no, you won’t. You’re going to get directly into that bed before you catch your death of cold. How long have you been out there?
LUCY. Not long. Oh, please, Mina – don’t be cross.
MINA. I’m not.
LUCY. You are too. You’re angry because I ruined your sleep.
MINA. You didn’t ruin my sleep. A nightmare did.
LUCY. A nightmare?
MINA. All summer I’ve been having them. Ever since Jonathan left for Transylvania…
LUCY. Poor dear; would it help to talk about it?
MINA. It was all about Jonathan being held prisoner at that castle he’s gone to, and the old Count, becoming this sort of monster, and….
LUCY. Yes? And…?
(A great clap of thunder. Balcony doors fly open. Lucy goes up to close them.)
Mina? The nightmare?
MINA. Never mind. It’s only a dream. I’ll get over them once Jonathan returns safely home.
LUCY. Poor, sweet Mina. You’re such a worrier.
MINA. Am I? Well, in regards to that, what is this sleepwalking Sarah’s told me about?
LUCY. It’s nothing. No harm’s going to come of it.
LUCY. No! And do you know why? Because I’ve got my very best friend in all the world paying me a visit and she loves me so much that she’d never ever allow anything bad to happen.
MINA. How I wish I had such power – for your sake as well as Jonathan’s.
LUCY. Mina, you’re wasting a great deal of energy worrying over something you simply can’t help.
(The distant sound of a large dog’s bark. Lucy listens, curious. Mina hasn’t heard it.)
MINA. I can’t fathom what could be taking Jonathan so long. All that was needed was for the Count Dracula to sign some papers for the property he’s buying in Carfax…
SARAH. (Enters with a cloak, carrying a lantern.) All ready, Miss Mina?
MINA. Thank you, Sarah. At least the shipwreck might be something about which I can help.
SARAH. I thought I might lend a hand, too. That is, if Miss Lucy has no objections?
LUCY. Not at all. Oh, but now I do feel so utterly useless. Are you quite certain there’s nothing I can do?
MINA. You might pray for the poor sailors on that ship, then straight to bed.
LUCY. (As Mina and Sarah exit.) Take care on the path down to the harbour! It can get dreadfully slick!
MINA. (Calling back.) Now who’s the worrier? Goodnight, Lucy!
(Lucy sits on bed for a moment, frustrated. Lightning. Thunder. Another dog howl, nearer. She rises and heads toward balcony doors. A thick fog has filled the balcony and pounds against the glass panes of the doors. Lucy opens the doors and steps into the fog as lights fade to Blackout.)
Act I, Scene ii.
(Lights rise on late afternoon light streaming into the bedchamber. A breeze gently wafts the curtains at the open French doors to the balcony. Lucy lies asleep on the bed. Distant tolling of the bells on the harbour buoys. Mina enters, obviously tired, removing her cloak.)
MINA. Hello? We’ve come back at last. Lucy, are you here?
(She sees Lucy asleep on the bed.)
LUCY. (Groggy.) Mina?
MINA. Lucy, you haven’t been in bed the whole day long?
LUCY. I suppose I have been, yes. What time is it?
MINA. Nearly five o’clock. Lucy, are you ill?
LUCY. My throat…
MINA. Aha – what did I tell you? You have caught cold from standing out in that storm.
LUCY. Don’t gloat, Mina. Why did you let me sleep so late?
MINA. Sarah and I’ve been down at the harbour all day.
LUCY. The harbour?
MINA. Don’t you remember? The shipwreck, the storm…?
LUCY. Oh, yes… seems so like a dream, last night… (She begins to fall back onto her pillow.)
MINA. Oh, no you don’t! Get up now, Lucy. Here, let me feel of your forehead.
LUCY. Mina, please! You’re forever fussing over me! I’m not a child!
MINA. (Offended.) I beg your pardon. I’ll leave you alone, then.
(She moves to exit.)
LUCY. Oh, now Mina – I didn’t mean for you to go.
MINA. I want to wash up anyway. And I’m rather tired myself. I thought I’d have a nap.
LUCY. Wait. You can’t go off without telling me about that ship. I’m dying of curiosity.
MINA. Are you.
(Her annoyance passes.)
Oh, very well.
(She sits at edge of bed beside Lucy.)
Lucy, never again in my life do I hope to witness such an eerie sight! There was the ship, all shrouded in fog – looming up out of the night like some great groaning behemoth. Constables were rushing about the deck with their lanterns, looking for the crew. But do you know what, Lucy? There wasn’t a single living human soul on board.
LUCY. Not a living soul, you say?
MINA. No. So the men all went out in boats, to see if perhaps the sailors had jumped overboard and were in need of rescue. That’s what took all day. Half the town, waiting at the pier: praying, hoping.
LUCY. It was no use.
MINA. No. May God rest their souls.
LUCY. Oh, won’t the cottages of our superstitious old fishermen be filled with ghost stories tonight!
MINA. I heard quite an earful today already. But perhaps we’ll have the true story once the authorities have a look at the Captain’s log. Trouble is, it’s written in Romanian and wants translating.
LUCY. Romanian? But isn’t that where your fiance’s been – Romania?
MINA. Yes! Why, Lucy, I didn’t think – do you suppose there might be a postal shipment on board? A letter from Jonathan? I must go back… (She rises to leave.)
LUCY. Wait! Tell me more.
MINA. That’s all there is.
LUCY. But what about the dog?
LUCY. Wasn’t there a dog on the ship?
MINA. Why, yes, there was. How did you know?
LUCY. (A shrug.) I must have overheard one of the servants while I was asleep.
MINA. Yes. Well, there was a dog; though, like you, I only heard about it. The harbourmaster said an enormous black dog – more like a wolf – leapt off deck the moment the ship hit the shore, then bolted away, swift as a shadow. Of course, that was still a good hour before dawn, so no one could see very well. But they think it ran up your cliff here and into the cemetery.
LUCY. Poor, frightened creature.
MINA. Yes, but it was the crew of that ship we were most concerned over.
LUCY. No helping them. They’re dead. (She rises.) Do you know what, Mina? While you’re seeking out some shipwrecked letter from your love, I believe I’ll got out as well and try to find that poor dog.
MINA. But Lucy, you mustn’t!
LUCY. Why not?
MINA. Don’t you know how dangerous a beast is when frightened? In its panic, it might attack you. What if it’s diseased?
LUCY. Then it requires our pity all the more.
MINA. But what about your cold?
LUCY. I’ll bundle up. The cemetery’s only five minutes’ walk; I shan’t be out long.
MINA. What about Arthur?
LUCY. “What about! What about!” Mina, I’m a nineteen-year-old woman who does not need my fiance’s permission to walk out-of-doors. As a matter of fact, I imagine Arthur would approve. A nice big dog could provide me protection. (A growl of frustration.)
Oh, why must I explain everything I feel, everything I do?! If Arthur doesn’t like my having a dog, I’ll simply marry somebody else.
MINA. Lucy, in mentioning Arthur I meant only to remind you he’s expected for supper.
LUCY. I’ll be back in time.
SARAH. (Entering.) Miss Lucy?
LUCY. Oh, good! Sarah, fetch me a dress and cloak; I’m going out.
SARAH. But Miss, you’ve a guest.
LUCY. Arthur already?
SARAH. No, Miss. It’s Doctor Seward.
LUCY. Jack? Jack Seward?
What is he doing here?
SARAH. He was down at the harbour like the rest of us, helping out with that ship. He said since he was, well … “in the neighbourhood”… Shall I tell him you’re away?
LUCY. No. Since he’s here, show him in. I’ll need a few minutes to dress, though.
SARAH. You’ll be wanting your tea up here, then?
LUCY. Yes, Sarah, thank you; that’ll be fine.
(Sarah exits. Lucy gives a look to Mina.)
Well? Aren’t you going to ask me about him?
MINA. I assume he was your Mother’s physician.
LUCY. You’re wrong. A half-year ago, the good doctor proposed marriage to me.
MINA. How awkward!
LUCY. I suppose it is, a bit – particularly since it was Jack who first introduced me to Arthur. Shall I tell you something else? Just before your engagement to Jonathan, I considered introducing Jack to you! He’s really quite a charming man, is Jack. Terribly brilliant. He has his very own little hospital not far from here.
MINA. Thank you, but I’m more than satisfied with my own charming and brilliant young attorney.
LUCY. Perhaps you’ll change your mind, once you meet Jack.
MINA. For shame, Lucy! How can you even jest about such a thing?
LUCY. You’re right, Mina. Now that I think of it, you and the Doctor would make a rather poor match. You’re a schoolteacher and you like people to behave very staid and proper. While Jack, his days are spent in the company of lunatics.
MINA. Lunatics, you say?
LUCY. Yes. Can you imagine yourself making a home of an insane asylum? Well, neither could I. So, instead, I chose Arthur Holmwood for my fiancé – a dashing young peer of the realm so dreadfully rich that he’ll never need to make his living rushing off to Transylvanian castles or tossing madmen into padded cells.
MINA. Lucy, what’s come over you? Never have I heard you talk this way before.
LUCY. Haven’t you?
SARAH. (Entering.) Pardon, Miss. Doctor Seward’s just outside.
(Seward enters into view as Sarah begins to draw the sheer translucent drapes across the bedchamber area.)
LUCY. Oh, Mina – do be a dear and chat with him while I get dressed?
MINA. Very well.
SARAH. I’ll fetch your clothes, Miss Lucy.
LUCY. My looking-glass and brush, too, Sarah. Then tea for our guest.
(As Mina steps out into the sitting room area to meet Seward and Sarah continues with the drapes, Lucy walks up and out onto the balcony and gazes off toward the harbour.)
MINA. Doctor Seward?
SEWARD. John Seward, yes.
MINA. How do you do. I’m Wilhelmina Murray.
SEWARD. Pleased to meet you. You’re a friend of Lucy’s … of Miss Westenra’s?
MINA. Yes. We were schoolgirls together. (Awkward silence.)
SARAH. (Exiting.) Miss Lucy’ll be out directly.
SEWARD. Oh, good.
MINA. Won’t you be seated? Sarah mentioned you were down at the harbour today.
MINA. So was I.
SEWARD. I’m sorry; I don’t recall seeing you.
MINA. Nor I you.
SEWARD. (After another awkward pause.) Quite a little mystery, that ship, what?
MINA. I should say so. You haven’t, by any chance, heard anything more?
SEWARD. That would depend upon what you’ve heard thus far.
MINA. Very little. No crew. A ship’s log written in Romanian. I was wondering, though, if there might be a postal delivery on board. My fiancé, you see, is away on business…
SEWARD. Your fiancé?
MINA. Yes. In Transylvania.
SEWARD. Oh? Well then, Miss Murray, you may be in luck.
SEWARD. I was allowed on board ship, you see, and while down below deck, in the hold I noticed a quantity of wooden crates bearing a customs stamp from Transylvania.
MINA. Then there might be letters, too, mightn’t there?! Oh, joy!
(Turning to enter the bedchamber.)
Please excuse me, won’t you?
(Mina rushes into bedchamber. Lucy is still out on the balcony.)
Lucy? I must run back down to the harbour.
(Lucy doesn’t respond.)
Lucy? Please do come away from there and see to your guest.
LUCY. The poor beast.
LUCY. Can’t you hear it? The dog… howling?
MINA. No. Please, Lucy – come.
(Lucy turns and comes indoors. Mina puts on her cape, then, with a sigh and shake of her head, ascends the steps to close the doors Lucy has left ajar.)
I’ll tell you what: since you’re so concerned over that dog, I’ll go past the cemetery and see if it’s there. (Lucy sits at the edge of the bed, picks up a hand mirror to brush her hair. She looks at her reflection with a mixture of wonder and horror.)
Oh, but do stand up, Lucy, and I’ll help you with your dress.
(Lucy, still gazing in the mirror, takes a step toward Mina. Lucy’s knees suddenly buckle.)
LUCY. (Regains her balance.) It’s nothing.
(She takes another step and then, with a look of fear at Mina, suddenly faints back onto the bed.)
MINA. Doctor Seward! Doctor Seward, come quickly!
(Distant dog howl as Seward rushes into bedchamber. Blackout.)
Act I, Scene iii.
(Lights rise on Mina with Arthur in the sitting area as, upstage through the sheer bedcurtains, we see Seward completing his examination of the sleeping Lucy. The last rays of sun streak through the windows.)
ARTHUR. But why such a fuss over a little head cold? Why can’t I go in and see her?
MINA. She’s asleep, Arthur.
ARTHUR. If that’s the case, then what, may I ask, is Jack Seward still doing in there? (A call.) Jack?! Holmwood, here! I want a word with you!
SEWARD. (Calling back.) In a moment, Arthur.
ARTHUR. (To Mina.) And how can Lucy be asleep when you just told me slept the entire day long?
MINA. The Doctor gave her a sedative.
ARTHUR. What on earth for?
MINA. To keep her in bed. A while ago, Lucy insisted she go out walking.
ARTHUR. I wouldn’t mind that myself. An evening stroll with my intended on my arm, watching the moon rise over the sea…
MINA. Very romantic, Arthur, but I’m afraid Lucy is far too ill. She oughtn’t be up and most certainly not out-of-doors until Doctor Seward discovers what precisely is the matter.
ARTHUR. Very well, Mina; I suppose I trust your judgment. “In sickness and in health.” Those are the vows Lucy and I will soon exchange. Perhaps I’d best get used to it. Still, I do so very much prefer my girl in good health.
MINA. Of course you do. I feel the same way about Jonathan.
ARTHUR. Oh? What’s the matter with him?
MINA. Nothing that I know of. That’s just the trouble; I’ve not received so much as a word from him for nearly five weeks. Before Lucy fainted, I was on my way to see if a letter might have with the cargo on that derelict ship.
ARTHUR. Yes – that cargo – a bit odd, if you ask me.
MINA. But Doctor Seward told me there was little more than some wooden crates.
ARTHUR. Rather large-sized crates, my good woman – and filled with nothing but mouldy soil.
MINA. “Mouldy soil?” Really?
ARTHUR. So I was told. Oh, how we English can be about our gardening. I expect there’s some orchid-growing fanatic in our village cultivating specialized, hybrid, exotic God-knows-what. You know how it is – certain organisms can only thrive in certain soil. But fifty crates of it? I’d say that’s going just a bit overboard, wouldn’t you?
(Mina is lost in thought.)
MINA. Forgive me, Arthur. My mind wandered.
ARTHUR. Wandered off to Transylvania?
MINA. Oh, Jonathan never leaves my thoughts entirely. But no – it’s those crates of earth. Something familiar in the image, yet I can’t place where or why. Such vivid thoughts and wild dreams I’ve had of late, my mind seems all a muddle most of the time.
ARTHUR. They say that’s a sure sign of love-sickness. Perhaps Doctor Jack has a remedy.
SEWARD. (Entering from bedchamber.) I beg your pardon?
ARTHUR. Well, it’s about time. How is my Lucy?
SEWARD. I don’t like to make hasty diagnosis, Arthur.
ARTHUR. And I don’t like to wait for them.
SEWARD. Of course you don’t. You’re the sort of man who decides what he wants and then goes right for it, aren’t you?
ARTHUR. Never mind how I am, Seward; I asked about my girl.
SEWARD. Yes. Since you insist upon an immediate opinion, I’d have to say that the lady is suffering from severe anemia.
SEWARD. Yes. Lucy’s pulse is extraordinarily weak and I don’t recall her complexion ever being so pale.
MINA. But Doctor, does anemia often occur quite so swiftly?
SEWARD. What do you mean, Miss Murray?
MINA. Why, only yesterday, Lucy was as vigorous as when we were girls. I’d never known her to be so full of life.
ARTHUR. I must agree with Mina, Jack. Lucy and I have enjoyed a most wonderful summer.
SEWARD. How dreadfully nice for you. (Turning away to leave.) I’ll know more after I’ve had a look at her blood.
ARTHUR. (Alarmed.) What? You drew blood?
SEWARD. I did.
ARTHUR. Dispensing drugs, taking blood – without my permission?
SEWARD. Pardon me, Arthur, if I offend, but I am not accustomed to asking permission for every little thing I do in the natural course of my profession.
ARTHUR. But such a delicate creature. And you, yourself, said she has an insufficiency of blood…
SEWARD. An ounce or two more she can afford to lose, I think. And I assure you, your fiancé felt no discomfort. Now, with your permission, I’ll go back to my laboratory and examine her blood. Then, with your permission, I’ll return tomorrow and report my findings to you. It’s a stroke of luck I have one of Europe’s foremost blood specialists now visiting my asylum.
ARTHUR. (Sarcastic.) Is that a fact. As a patient?
SEWARD. The fellow, Doctor Abraham Van Helsing, was a professor of mine from Amsterdam. He is helping me in the treatment of a most particularly troubled patient who seems obsessed with blood.
ARTHUR. How awfully fascinating. You must tell me all about him… some other time.
SEWARD. Yes. Some other time. Well, I’ll say goodnight now, Miss Murray.
MINA. I’ll see you out, Doctor. Since Lucy’s asleep and Arthur’s here, I thought I’d at last go down to the harbour.
SEWARD. Oh, yes – you were hoping for a letter, weren’t you? Please allow me to drive you there.
MINA. Why, thank you.
SARAH. (Entering with a tray upon which is a telegram.) Miss Mina? Here’s a telegram for you just arrived.
MINA. A telegram?
(Eagerly opens the message.)
From Jonathan – it must be!
(She steps away to read.)
ARTHUR. One thing before you go, Jack. I… I am glad to know about that Dutchman, that Professor of yours. I want my Lucy to have nothing but the best, understand? Anything and everything she requires and spare no expense.
SEWARD. My services are provided without fee, Arthur. After all, we are friends, are we not? At least we were.
MINA. (A grave expression.) Sarah? Fetch my traveling valise – at once, please?
SARAH. (Exits.) Right away, Miss.
MINA. Jonathan’s ill. He’s at a convent hospital in Buda-Pesth. If I hurry, I may be able to catch the last train for the Channel.
SEWARD. Then I’ll take you to station.
MINA. Oh, would you? I’d be so very much obliged.
SEWARD. I’ll start up the motorcar.
ARTHUR. “Motorcar?” Now, Seward, you don’t mean you’ve gone and wasted good money on one of those ridiculous new contraptions?
SEWARD. I’m intrigued by all these new inventions – contraptions, if you will. Besides, I’ve little else in my life now to amuse me. Goodnight, Arthur. (He exits.)
SARAH. (Enters with Mina’s valise.) All packed up, Miss Mina.
MINA. Just coming.
ARTHUR. Do you need any money?
MINA. Thank you, Arthur, no; I can manage.
ARTHUR. But I’d like to be of some help.
MINA. Then stay here and look after Lucy in my stead.
(She opens the drapes slightly to look at Lucy.)
Oh, now I too wish the Doctor hadn’t given her that sedative. I can’t say goodbye.
ARTHUR. That I can do for you.
MINA. Yes. Give Lucy my love. Tell her I’ll write. And she mustn’t worry. I want her to rest and be completely well upon our return.
(Extending her hand.)
ARTHUR. Oh, but I’m escorting you down.
(Taking Mina’s valise and arm.)
I could use a good chuckle at Seward’s new motorcar.
(They exit. A fog develops outside on the balcony. The doors blow open to a balcony filled with mist. Lucy awakens from her sleep and, as the night before, slowly ascends the stairs to be swallowed by the fog on the balcony. Blackout.)
Act I, Scene iv.
(Afternoon light rises on Lucy, asleep in bed, with Arthur seated in a chair beside the bed, donating blood through a transfusion apparatus. Van Helsing looks after them. Seward sits outside of the room, comparing written notes to a dictaphone journal entry.)
SEWARD. (Recorded.) “Twenty-second November. Administered to the blood-obsessed, zoophagous lunatic Mister Renfield a solution of chloral hydrate as sedation following morbid outburst at sunset. Renfield had captured in a box a quantity of bloated houseflies which he had lured with tea sugar. I was compelled to tell him that hygiene dictated their disposal. Renfield acquiesced by immediately eating the flies in a most appalling display of zoophagy. The homicidal maniac is seemingly desirous of as many lives as he can consume – be they flies, spiders… I wonder if he covets human life?
(Seward stops the dictaphone at Van Helsing’s entrance through the bedchamber drapes. Seward rises and approaches Van Helsing eagerly.)
SEWARD. Well, Professor?
VAN HELSING. Yes, John?
SEWARD. Tell me what you think.
VAN HELSING. Just now I think the lady is taking the young man’s blood very well.
SEWARD. Yes? And…?
VAN HELSING. And I am much relieved. Transfusions of blood from person to person is a risky business. I do not like it.
SEWARD. You seem also not to like my questions, Professor.
VAN HELSING. Ah, but I do; I like very much your questions. Most important of all the things I hoped to teach you was to always question. What I do no like so much is you expecting always the answers.
SEWARD. Professor, this is not your classroom in Amsterdam, it’s a sickroom. And Lucy lies there from night to night losing such immense quantities of blood as are not to be believed!
VAN HELSING. Yet we do believe because the blood is gone.
SEWARD. But how? I come back this morning to find Lucy’s pulse three times weaker than yesterday. There is no functional evidence of blood loss: no traumatic wounds, no sign of internal hemorrhage. The standard tests of her blood tell me nothing. What else am I to diagnose but anemia? What else have I in my experience?
VAN HELSING. You have a new experience.
(Seward heaves a sigh of great frustration.)
Do not be angry, John; anger can give birth to wrong answers made in haste. Though we may no yet know what it is we are fighting, we can keep close watch over your friend and try to find the path to renewed health so that she may live a long and happy life, God willing.
SEWARD. (Scoffing.) “God willing?!”
VAN HELSING. Not so loudly, my friend. We want not to upset the young gentleman unnecessarily.
SEWARD. Never mind him; they’re both sedated against the pain of transfusion. Arthur is blissfully asleep beside “his” Lucy.
VAN HELSING. Because he is asleep, must it follow that he cannot hear?
SEWARD. (A look; he sits.) Oh, why, why, if I can’t be a friend, can’t I at least be a considerate physician?
VAN HELSING. You tell me.
SEWARD. Last spring I asked Lucy to be my wife. She chose, instead, Arthur. It isn’t easy, Professor. Still she inspires in me such irrational emotion. For most of this past summer I had given up all hope for a life.
VAN HELSING. Yet you lived.
SEWARD. No. I worked.
VAN HELSING. And denied a wife to live for, you chose instead a patient to work for. Ah, your madman Renfield – what a fascinating fellow he is! Locked alone in his cell, eating his flies and spiders… why? Out of anger or jealousy that they are happy and free, when he is not? Can you understand that? Or perhaps the man, sixty years of age, so much fears the grave that he must consume life? I can understand that. Yes, a fascinating web, a splendid puzzle you have presented to me in your Mister Renfield, to coax me out of my lonely retirement. I am grateful – as a friend and a colleague.
SEWARD. “Colleague?” You flatter me. Never will I achieve your level of knowledge.
VAN HELSING. Nonsense! You are still young. Look about you – every day is the growth of new technology, new ideas. Yes, it is hard for an old man not to envy your youth; but where is the good in that? But there is much good, much comfort in the thought of my work living on through you.
SEWARD. How I should like to give you that comfort, Professor. But if I know not half what you do…
VAN HELSING. You will know all I know when I know you can know it.
VAN HELSING. Ach, but what do I know? At this moment, very little. Only questions – questions you could not possibly understand.
SEWARD. Am I that ignorant?
VAN HELSING. No. I am.
(Sarah enters, carrying a large carton.)
SARAH. Professor Van Helsing? Here’s the flowers you asked for.
VAN HELSING. You are a divine angel, Miss Sarah.
SEWARD. Flowers, Professor?
VAN HELSING. For to brighten up the young lady’s sickroom.
(He opens the carton to reveal bunches of flowers: stalks of garlic with bulbs still attached and wild roses.)
SEWARD. Wild rose. But what are these?
VAN HELSING. Garlic.
SEWARD. (A sniff.) Indeed!
VAN HELSING. Delicate little blossoms, eh, for such a bold-scented bud? That is why the roses … for to temper the odor.
SEWARD. Why garlic?
VAN HELSING. (Breaking off bulbs.) Once we separate the stems from the bulbs, Miss Lucy’s cook may use it in preparing her meals. You have heard, perhaps, how garlic may be of benefit to the heart and the blood?
SEWARD. I always considered it more an old wive’s tale than scientific fact.
VAN HELSING. Old wives are often mothers, and mothers often the best of physicians, and, in my experience, also the best of cooks.
(Handing bulbs to Sarah.)
Would you kindly take these down to the kitchen, my dear?
SARAH. Of course, Professor. And I’ll tell Cook to start using it right away.
VAN HELSING. There’s a girl! You know, you’d make a fine nurse for some old doctor, I must say.
SARAH. (Blushing as she turns to leave.) Oh, go on!
VAN HELSING. (Halting her exit.) Ah, ah, ah – Miss Sarah? One thing more…
(He takes a rose bud and pins it to her apron bodice.)
SARAH. (Grinning.) Oh, Professor! (She exits.)
VAN HELSING. (Pinning a rose on Seward’s lapel.) And also for you…
(Pinning one on his own lapel.)
…and for me. There now, don’t we look cheerful! Now, to put our agile surgeon’s hands to the blossoms, yes? Wild roses and garlic we shall intertwine for to deck Miss Lucy’s walls and bed with festive garlands.
SEWARD. I hope the sight, when she awakes, lifts her spirits a bit.
VAN HELSING. We can be certain, at least, that Miss Lucy will be …
(He shows SEWARD how to work with the flowers as lights fade to demi-light.)
Act I, Scene v.
(Continuous with the preceding. Lights rise on an isolated garden exterior where Mina and Harker enter, assisted by a Convent Sister, and sit on a stone bench beneath a bower of wild roses. Harker stares vacantly. Mina writes a letter, which we hear in recorded voice-over. Throughout the letter-writing we view a montage of brief scenes occurring in Lucy’s bedchamber and the areas adjacent.)
MINA. “My dearest Lucy… Arrived last night in Buda-Pesth and am, at last, happily reunited with my darling Jonathan. I can hardly recall anything of my thoughts on the journey, except that I was coming to my love. Oh, but when I found him, Lucy… so terribly thin and pale… his eyes empty, lifeless – a ghost of the bright young man I bade farewell to last April. Some terrible shock he has had, Lucy, but remembers nothing of his visit to Castle Dracula or, at least, does not want to remember….
(Van Helsing and Seward have decked the bedchamber with the garlands of garlic and wild rose around the French doors and over the headboard of the bed. Van Helsing also places a wreath around the neck of the sleeping Lucy, then pins a rose to Arthur’s lapel, causing him to awaken.)
ARTHUR. Doctor Van Helsing?
VAN HELSING. (Disconnects the transfusion tube from Arthur’s arm.) Ah, Mister Holmwood – you have awakened. Good. That is enough, for the time being. See? Your blood has brought a touch of colour back to her cheeks.
ARTHUR. (Looking about.) Flowers? Your idea, Seward?
VAN HELSING. No. At my request. Their sight may lift her spirit; their scent may ease her breathing. Now, come away, young sir – some food and drink will refresh you.
(Van Helsing and Seward assist Arthur up from his chair and out of the room. Sunset outside the French doors. Lucy begins to toss about in a troubled sleep.)
MINA. “I thank the Lord for the sweet, gentle care of the convent nurses. I spoke this morning to one Sister Agatha, who told me when Jonathan first arrived, he raved with delirium: speaking of wolves and bats, of blood and brides, of coffins and phantoms, of being held against his will by a madman! Then a dreadful chill passed through my veins: hadn’t I dreamt these things? Lucy, could there be some truth in what is called “women’s intuition” regarding those we love? Of course, I was eager to hear more, but the Sister would not oblige me, saying ‘the delusions of the sick are the secrets of God; we must have pity and pay them no heed.’ Yet, I could not help but wonder what might have caused his brain fever… how Jonathan arrived in Buda-Pesth…
(A mist has appeared on the balcony outside the doors. Lucy rises slowly from the bed, as if still asleep, and goes to the doors to open them. She reaches for the handle, but seems to be unable to touch it, as it is draped with blossoms. Van Helsing appears and observes for a moment, then steps to Lucy’s side and gently guides her back to the bed. Seward appears with a bowl of stew to feed her.)
“I feel compelled to write the Count Dracula; perhaps he could shed some light on this awful mystery. Few clues have I beyond these: Jonathan came to the convent without his valise – only my portrait and the silver crucifix I had sent with him. But the cross, which he refuses to release from his grasp, is strangely pocked and streaked with black ash as if it, too, suffered the torments of hell-fire. Of course, he has also his pocket diary from which the sisters learned how to reach me, but I, myself, will not read a single word without Jonathan’s blessing. And I dare not ask him for that, lest it release a flood of unhappy memory. No – for now I will be content to sit at his side. And oh, Lucy, how truly happy I am to be here; to provide any and all comfort within my mortal power.
(Lucy turns her head away from the spoonful of stew Seward offers to her. She moans.)
SEWARD. Please, Lucy, you must try and eat.
LUCY. No… garlic… no…
VAN HELSING. It is all right. Perhaps later, hmmm?
(Van Helsing administers an injection; Lucy falls immediately asleep.)
She ought to sleep now. I hope.
SEWARD. As should you, Professor.
VAN HELSING. Someone must keep vigil.
SEWARD. I will. I have my paperwork to keep me occupied.
VAN HELSING. You will awaken me should you become tired?
SEWARD. Yes. Goodnight.
VAN HELSING. (Exiting.) Goodnight.
(SEWARD crosses to sitting area. LUCY suddenly awakens and calls seductively.)
LUCY. Jack? Is that you, Jack?
SEWARD. (Entering bedchamber.) Lucy? You’re awake?
LUCY. Come, Jack. Come near to me, won’t you?
SEWARD. What can I do for you? Shall I call Arthur?
LUCY. No. You. Dear Jack… can’t you help me?
LUCY. My throat… so sore … I can hardly breathe.
SEWARD. (Examining her throat.) Blood? What’s this? The thorns have pierced your neck. Oh, I am sorry. Meant to help, instead they’ve wounded you.
(He removes the garland of roses and garlic blossoms from her neck, unbinds the door handles to the balcony, and angrily hurls the garland out over the railing.)
LUCY. (A deep breath.) Yes, Jack, yes! Fresh air! I can breathe!
SEWARD. I could leave the door ajar.
LUCY. Could you, my dear? For your Lucy?
SEWARD. (Returning to her bedside.) Only promise to keep the covers tight about you.
LUCY. How sweet you are to me. You must love me still a little, mustn’t you, Jack? Shall I give you a kiss? Come, let me give you a kiss.
(Seward bends toward Lucy. Sound of a dog howling outside, and Seward turns toward it in surprise. A clock tolls in a nearby room. When Seward turns back to Lucy, he sees her unconscious again. He takes Lucy’s hand and kisses it.)
SEWARD. Sleep, Lucy. I will be near, should you need me.
(He steps from the bedchamber and returns to the couch, sits, and picks up his journal. A mist enters the bedchamber from the balcony. Seward’s head begins to nod, fighting sleep.)
Now, as for you Mister Renfield… what was it the Professor said…?
MINA. “Strange, is it not, how quickly things do happen sometimes… tragic events which change our lives forever. Ah, but not all my news is of sorrow. Rejoice with me, Lucy, for today Jonathan and I are to be married. Yes, I want him to know that I am his for all eternity, and let that love give him strength again. Already I hear the holy sisters at prayer. It is time I wake him from his sleep.
(The distant sound of nuns singing vespers.)
SEWARD. (Barely awake.) Mustn’t fall asleep… must stay awake…
(Seward succumbs. Silhouette of Dracula appears on the balcony. Lucy rises to him. Dracula pulls her up into his arms as lights fade out on bedchamber, but remain on Seward, sleeping, and Mina and Harker in the garden.)
MINA. “I am the happiest woman in all the world, Lucy – as you will be too when you are joined with the man you love. Then both our lives, and our husbands’ with us, will be filled with peace and happiness for ever.
(Morning light rises fully on Van Helsing in the bedchamber where Lucy lies across the bed, bloody and disheveled.)
VAN HELSING. Mein Gott in Himmel!
(Van Helsing rushes to awaken Seward, who buries his face in his hands at the horrible sight.)
Her time is very brief! Tell the maid to fetch a priest; then awaken the young man!
(Lights fade on bedchamber. Chapel bells toll.)
MINA. “I must say good-bye to you now, Lucy – the chapel bells are calling. My husband and I shall be home to England very soon. Until then, I remain your loving friend, Mina Murray. No – Mrs. Mina Harker. (Mina rises and guides Harker away as lights fade on garden, although bells and the sisters’ vesper continue. Light streams through the French doors into the bedchamber. A Priest stands and ends a wedding ceremony for Arthur and Lucy, who lies awake but very weak in bed. Van Helsing, Seward, and Sarah stand in witness.)
PRIEST. … et postea vivam aeternam habeatis sine fine, adjuvante Domino nostro Jesu Christo, qui cum Patre et Spiritu sancto vivit et regnat Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.
(Arthur leans down to kiss his bride but Van Helsing lunges forward in fear to prevent him from doing so, taking his hand and shaking it in congratulation. Sudden light shift and abrupt music as all freeze but Lucy, who clutches at her heart and writhes in agony. Lucy’s head drops back to the pillow, dead. Lights and general action are restored as Sara screams and points to Lucy. Van Helsing and Seward rush to Lucy to help. Arthur falls to his knees and weeps as Priest begins to recite the last rites and lights swiftly fade.)
PRIEST. Requiem aeternam dona eis. Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis…
Act I, Scene vi.
(Lights rise on Sarah “closing” the house by covering furniture with muslin sheets, etc. Early evening. Once Mina joins Arthur, Sarah will seal off the upstage bedchamber with a heavy drape instead of the translucent sheers. Mina stands beside the empty bed, holding the unopened letter she had written to Lucy. Arthur, wearing a black band of mourning on his sleeve, sits, disconsolate, on the couch downstage.)
MINA. This letter I had written to her not an hour before your telegram arrived. Dear, dear Lucy… how I so wanted to share my joy with her.
ARTHUR. Who could have know she would leave us so quickly.
MINA. Try, Arthur – please do try to find comfort in that she did not suffer long.
ARTHUR. Do you know what, Mina? Lucy never lost her beauty. Even in death, she possessed a radiance that would shame an angel: as if only asleep, as if in blissful dreaming. Oh, such dreams we had for one another…. (He begins to weep. Mina sits beside him on the couch and takes his hand.)
MINA. Promise me, Arthur: you’ll tell us if there is anything we can do.
ARTHUR. I may ask for your gentle company now and again.
MINA. Often, I hope. Jonathan won’t be well enough to return to his work for quite a while yet. We’d welcome your companionship to help fill the days.
ARTHUR. Poor fellow. On the mend, though, isn’t he?
MINA. Oh, yes – much improved. But I had my reasons, asking him to take a stroll with Doctor Seward and the Professor. I’m hoping they’ll gain some insights into how we might help Jonathan further.
ARTHUR. Take care you don’t set your hopes too high.
(He rises, angrily.)
“Physicians,” they dare call themselves!
MINA. Arthur? What is that supposed to mean?
MINA. You’re not blaming the doctors for Lucy’s death, are you?
ARTHUR. Well, I most certain can’t “blame” them for keeping her alive.
MINA. But you must believe they did everything they could. Why wouldn’t they? Particularly when Lucy told me that Doctor Seward….
ARTHUR. You can say it. Jack Seward… loved… Lucy. And do you know what I think? He’s never stopped being in love with her. I know for certain the man was jealous of Lucy’s love for me.
MINA. Fine. You may blame him for that. But what of you? Mightn’t Doctor Seward’s reappearance in Lucy’s life and her dependence on him during her last days – mightn’t that have inspired some jealousy in you?
ARTHUR. Don’t be absurd.
MINA. “Absurd?” Yes, isn’t it. Don’t you see, Arthur, none of it matters now. What’s done is done. So forgive the physicians, for they are only human. Forgive yourself, because no one’s love – great as it may be – can stay Death’s hand. Forgive Lucy, for having to leave you. And last of all, forgive me for having to say these things, though I believe with all my heart that if Lucy were here, she’d say the same.
ARTHUR. But she isn’t!
MINA. No, but if you continue to make sums of what you lack, there lies a quick and certain avenue to perpetual misery! Please, Arthur, won’t you try, instead, to think of what you have? Shall I begin? Friends you have – dear friends and companions in your sorrow – Doctor Seward foremost among them.
(She is interrupted by Harker’s frightened cry approaching.)
HARKER. Mina! Where are you?
(He enters and rushes to Mina.)
Oh, my God, Mina…!
(Van Helsing and Seward rush in; Seward goes to his medical bag.)
HARKER. Mina, I saw him! God help us, Mina, he’s here!
MINA. (Appealing for an explanation.) Doctor Seward?
SEWARD. We were strolling out along the cliff by the cemetery. He saw a couple, a man and woman, in the distance.
(Taking a syringe from his bag.)
Please, Mister Harker – a sedative to calm you.
HARKER. (Slapping Seward away.) Devil take your drugs!
MINA. Please, husband, he means to help.
HARKER. Oh, God, Mina – he’s found us! He’s followed me here!
MINA. Who, Jonathan?
VAN HELSING. (Suddenly pale.) “Dracula?”
MINA. The Romanian Count who purchased some property in Carfax…
HARKER. “Property?” You think it’s the property he’s come here for?!
MINA. What then?
HARKER. People, of course! Hundreds of thousands of people! And us, Mina – you and I. Oh, God – now I see. He didn’t follow me; he had this address. He took that letter I wrote to you. And he’s brought with him one of his brides.
HARKER. Yes, he has three women…
MINA. Doctor Seward?
SEWARD. As I said, there appeared to be one woman with the man. But they were quite far away, and…
HARKER. I tried. Heaven knows I tried to kill him.
HARKER. But I failed. Tonight, in the moonlight, I could see the scar from the shovel’s blow, there on his forehead. But his hair: dark. And his face: young. And his bride…
SEWARD. (Holding syringe.) Please, Mister Harker, I beg you, take this. It will bring sleep.
HARKER. Sleep and be helpless against him? Never! Mina – my diary – you may all read my diary. Every horror of that Castle Dracula, I wrote it down. Read it and believe me!
VAN HELSING. I believe you.
HARKER. Like hell you do.
VAN HELSING. I believe in hell.
HARKER. Don’t patronize me!
VAN HELSING. I don’t.
VAN HELSING. (Gestures to Sarah, who’s been silently standing in waiting.) Miss Sarah?
VAN HELSING. (Scribbling out a note.) Would you be so kind as to fetch me these few items from the groundskeeper?
VAN HELSING. Please. As quickly as possible.
HARKER. (As Sarah exits.) What did you write in that note? Summoned your men with the straitjacket, have you?
VAN HELSING. No, Mister Harker. I have asked her to fetch some lanterns, a wooden stake, a hammer, some putty…
ARTHUR. What on earth for?
VAN HELSING. A moment and I will tell you; another reason why I have sent away the maid.
(A deep breath.)
My young friends, what I have to say to you now must be kept secret amongst us and us alone.
SEWARD. (After others nod their heads in assent.) Go ahead, Professor.
VAN HELSING. It is not an easy thing, what I am going to say. Indeed, I am as troubled as Mister Harker – for his words have forced me to accept what I have feared since the day of my arrival here. A moment ago, I professed that I believe in hell… and I was in earnest. But I ask you now, my friends – do you?
ARTHUR. What a ridiculous question.
VAN HELSING. I ask you this because to believe in hell is to believe in things which have no earthly proof or substance – things beyond mortal understanding – mysteries of faith. So. Do you hold such beliefs, Mister Holmwood?
ARTHUR. What has any of this to do with me? It’s Harker, here, who’s….
VAN HELSING. Please answer the question!
ARTHUR. I believe in heaven. I pray I will be joined with my Lucy in paradise. Therefore, I suppose, it follows that I must also believe in hell; yes.
VAN HELSING. Thank you. And what do you imagine hell to be?
ARTHUR. Not being in heaven? Oh, listen to me; am I a child at catechism?!
VAN HELSING. Bear with me, please. I have need to know what is possible for you to imagine, for I soon will ask you to believe in that which you cannot – in things every atom in your brains tell you must not be true.
HARKER. (A sigh of great relief, to Van Helsing.) You do believe me.
VAN HELSING. Yes, Jonathan Harker. In my research, in my travels, I have heard tell of this Count Dracula: incredible stories – only legends, superstitions, I took them to be. But now, to know a man who has met this Dracula in the flesh… to see before me the effect of such an encounter… oh, my friends, I must believe.
HARKER. Then what are we to do? I swear I saw him, out there by the cemetery, not a quarter mile from this house!
VAN HELSING. A moment, young sir, and I will tell you what we can do.
ARTHUR. No, Professor! I, for one, have heard enough of your riddles. Tell us now, flat out, who is this Count Dracula?
VAN HELSING. Count Dracula is … was …
ARTHUR. Out with it, sir!
VAN HELSING. He is one of the Un-Dead.
VAN HELSING. A vampire. In Eastern Europe, his kind are called “nosferatu.” Men and women who do not die, but roam the earth taking life from the living by the drinking of their blood.
VAN HELSING. No, sir! And when the victim dies, it does not die in truth. For after three days not dead, it must also rise up from the grave as a vampire.
ARTHUR. “Dead, not dead, un-dead?!” My dear Professor, I’d say you and Seward have spent a little too much time with your lunatics.
VAN HELSING. Again I tell you: these are such things beyond reason.
ARTHUR. That’s putting it mildly. No, Professor, I’ve heard quite enough. I am a man in mourning; I cannot – will not listen to you further, if for no other reason than out of respect for my beloved Lucy’s memory.
VAN HELSING. And it is for her sake that you must listen! If I could spare you – any of you – this grief far greater than that you feel already, God above knows I would. But, alas, this night we must begin a journey along a far more painful path. Else, later -- and for ever -- that innocent girl we love must suffer eternal hell.
(Responses tumble out on top of one another:)
ARTHUR. Take care what more you say about my bride, sir – take care!
SEWARD. Professor? Are you telling us … the loss of blood … this, the third night since Lucy’s death …? No! No!
HARKER. (Clutching Mina’s hand.) Mina, it was not Dracula with one of his brides that I saw…
ARTHUR. (To Van Helsing.) You wouldn’t dare!
VAN HELSING. I must! We have every reason to believe that the woman with Dracula in the cemetery was Miss Lucy.
(Immediate Blackout. Music rises; accelerating in tempo.)
Act I, Scene vii.
(Dim pre-dawn light rises on cemetery. Light snowfall. Mina and Harker huddle together outside the Westenra mausoleum; Harker clutching his crucifix and fervently reciting the rosary under his breath, all the while nervously looking about for any signs of approaching Un-Dead. Lantern light from the underground crypt as Arthur, Van Helsing, and Seward enter up the stairs into view, then close and lock the door to the mausoleum.)
VAN HELSING. There. With your own eyes you have seen.
ARTHUR. I saw only that Lucy’s body is not in her coffin. Oh, dear God, what can have happened to her? Grave-robbers? Yes, it’s the only explanation.
VAN HELSING. Soon will come the sunrise. Soon, I fear, you shall have another answer. Quickly, John – the putty, for to seal the tomb.
(Seward pulls a small bag of putty from his medical kit as Van Helsing takes out an envelope from his coat pocket.)
SEWARD. But Professor, if what you and Harker have said is true, how will a bit of common putty prevent Dracula… or whomever… from simply opening the door?
VAN HELSING. We have locked it with a key, have we not? But this, too, will prevent them: I am now mixing with the compound the sacred host.
(He crumples the wafers into the putty and kneads them together.)
“Corpus Domine nostri Miserere….”
MINA. Professor, this is sacrilege!
SEWARD. Wafers for holy communion?! How did you come to possess them?
VAN HELSING. From the priest who performed Lucy’s last rites.
MINA. A priest gave you the host? It’s unheard of!
VAN HELSING. That’s right. So I had to steal it.
ARTHUR. This is too much! What kind of man are you, who corrupts the sacraments of the Holy Church, who desecrates the sanctity of the grave? Have you no shame? Is there nothing you will not do?
VAN HELSING. No, Mister Holmwood! In waging battle against the Devil’s own, one needs must use every weapon of heaven and earth. And if my soul be damned for this sin, then so be it. But I am compelled to make that sacrifice, for Lucy’s sake – and the countless multitudes she and Dracula will most certainly corrupt. (He finishes the task of sealing the crypt by pushing putty into the seam of the door.) “In manus tuas, Domine!”
MINA. Professor! Someone comes!
HARKER. Oh, Lord, forgive us! Protect us!
VAN HELSING. Now, my friends, the bitter hour has come wherein the very face of heaven must seem black. But with God’s grace will come the dawn and, with it, His peace which passeth all understanding. Now, come – come away!
(All but Arthur scatter to hide behind the tombstones. Van Helsing holds out his hand to Arthur.)
My hand, young sir – quickly, take it! Truly I am your friend; I would not forsake you.
(Arthur refuses Van Helsing’s hand, but follows him behind a tombstone to observe. Morning fog and snowfall increase. Through the cemetery gate glides Lucy, wearing her white burial shroud and her face covered by the sheer fabric as if a bridal veil. Lucy steps toward her crypt. Harker resumes his rosary prayers; Mina gently clasps her hand over Harker’s mouth and holds him close. Lucy pauses and cocks her ear at the sound.)
ARTHUR. (Whisper.) It cannot be Lucy. It cannot be.
SEWARD. (Whisper.) Professor, she is alone.
VAN HELSING. (Whisper.) Before dawn, the Un-Dead must return to their place of rest: Lucy to hers, Dracula to his – wherever that may be.
(Lucy reaches the door of her crypt and is strangely thwarted from touching it.)
SEWARD. (Whisper.) Professor, it’s working! She cannot pass!
(Lucy tries to touch the door again without success. A moan of frustration alters into a growl of fury.)
ARTHUR. (In full voice, stepping out from hiding.) That is not her voice! That is not my Lucy!
(Lucy whirls at the sound of Arthur’s voice and the shroud from her face drops away to reveal a mouth drenched with blood.)
Oh, but it is! She’s alive! Only, Lucy, your face….
ARTHUR. She’s hurt… bleeding… we must help her!
LUCY. Yes, Arthur, my husband, my love – help me?
VAN HELSING & SEWARD. (Grasping to prevent Arthur from going to Lucy.) No!
ARTHUR. (Struggling.) Let go of me! Can’t you see how she suffers?
MINA. Oh, God, it is too horrible!
LUCY. (Whirls to Mina.) Mina? Is that you? You left me. But now you’ve come back to help me, haven’t you? My dearest friend. My Mina…
HARKER. No! Get away! She is not your Mina!
(He holds up his crucifix in defense and Lucy shies back, falling to her knees with a wail of anguish.)
LUCY. Does no one love me? Jack! You do love me still!
SEWARD. (A moan.) Professor, let it end!
ARTHUR. Yes, Lucy, I love you!
LUCY. Then come to me, husband! Leave these others! Come and we will rest together!
(He breaks free of Van Helsing and Seward and rushes to Lucy, who, in turn, hurls him toward the mausoleum door where Arthur peels off a portion of the putty caulking as Van Helsing and Seward rush to thwart Lucy from entering. Before the men can reach her, Lucy flings Arthur away from the door with supernatural force. A tremendous rush of vapour pours out of the crack of the door and envelopes Lucy as Seward and Van Helsing, too, are hurtled back to the ground at the force and velocity. Lucy has vanished into the vapour.)
(To Van Helsing.)
Where is she? What have you done with her?
VAN HELSING. She is back in her coffin, and without a moment to spare. See there, the first rays of morning.
(The glow silhouettes the tombstones against the winter sky. Snowfall begins to abate.)
ARTHUR. But how can that be? The door is still closed.
VAN HELSING. (Peeling away the remaining putty.) You may see for yourself.
ARTHUR. No. No, I can’t go back in there.
VAN HELSING. Then you believe me?
ARTHUR. (Falling to his knees, near tears.) Believe? How am I to know what to believe anymore?
VAN HELSING. Forgive me, Arthur, but I must have an answer. Am I to proceed in my work?
ARTHUR. Do what you will.
SEWARD. But Professor, what can be done against such unnatural power?
VAN HELSING. Miss Lucy sleeps now and cannot harm us. What remains to be done is to bestow upon her eternal rest – true death – so that her soul may be free to take its place among the angels.
MINA. Is there no way to give Lucy back her life?
(Van Helsing shakes his head.)
ARTHUR. I would have given her mine, and gladly. Anything I would have done for my Lucy.
VAN HELSING. You have yet that opportunity. By your hand, you may give her eternal life.
ARTHUR. (Rising to his feet.) Then help me, Professor. Tell me what I must do for her.
VAN HELSING. It is a grisly task.
ARTHUR. In our marriage I pledged a vow: for better or worse. Let this be the worst.
VAN HELSING. You are a brave and noble man. Let us begin.
(Van Helsing steps away to unlock the mausoleum door, then pulls out from a large canvas bag a wooden stake and mallet.)
HARKER. (Stepping to Arthur.) Arthur, I … I cannot help you. I am too afraid.
(Arthur places his hand on Harker’s shoulder and nods in understanding and forgiveness.)
SEWARD. (Picking up a lantern.) Stay, Harker. Stay here with your wife. We will not be long.
VAN HELSING. (Handing stake and mallet to Arthur.) Come.
(Van Helsing, Arthur, and Seward descend into the crypt. Harker sobs.)
MINA. (Stroking Harker’s hair.) Never mind, Jonathan. Never mind. Look – the sun has risen. It’s morning. The nightmare is nearly over.
HARKER. If only it were so.
(From the crypt, the scraping sound of a stone sarcophagus lid being pulled aside.)
Oh, Mina… my Mina … there is still Dracula!
(A pound of the mallet from within the crypt and Lucy’s horrible scream. Mina and Harker clutch one another tightly. Two more pounds and screams as act scrim descends and lights quickly fade to Blackout.)
Act II, Scene i.
(Lights rise on Carfax Insane Asylum: a library with an area for laboratory experiments, a staircase which leads up to a bedchamber door. In the forestage pit, a small area with a bench: a lunatic’s cell, with a ceiling grate providing ability to view the cell (and access it, if necessary) from the library above. The grate is customarily covered with a small area carpet.
(Seward, Arthur, Harker and Mina are gathered, listening to Van Helsing.)
VAN HELSING. Imagine, my friends – only imagine a race of hideous creatures: men, women, even children, tormented with the curse of immortality. Miserable demons who, night upon night, age upon age, go about a wild and wicked work adding new victims to their evil ranks and thus increasing the woes of this our world.
ARTHUR. Ah, Lucy… Lucy….
VAN HELSING. Mourn not for Lucy, no – for today her soul gained release from the vampire’s fate. Yes, through the piercing of her heart by you – by your love – the lady is Un-Dead no more.
MINA. It was too dreadful.
VAN HELSING. Yes, but only think had she lived as nosferatu! To poison the blood, to corrupt the souls of even you, Madam Mina, or you, Mr. Holmwood – yes, you – the ones whom in life she held most dear.
ARTHUR. But why, Professor – why us? Why Lucy?
HARKER. The fault is mine. My letter to Mina led Dracula here.
VAN HELSING. And indeed that is our great good fortune.
ARTHUR. “Good fortune?!”
SEWARD. (To Van Helsing) How could you possibly regard it as “good?”
VAN HELSING. How? Because it is Dracula’s great misfortune to meet in us the few – perhaps the only – who possess the understanding, the resources, and – most important – the will to wage battle against the monster.
SEWARD. But it’s you, not we, who knows.
VAN HELSING. And all my knowledge I will henceforth share, as I trust you shall with me.
MINA. But of course, Professor.
VAN HELSING. Good. Because this bitter morning we all of us learned to believe, now it is time we also understand our duty: to be of one mind, united, as warriors of God to save His children from the touch of Dracula.
ARTHUR. I am with you, sir. If need be – to the death.
VAN HELSING. And have no doubt that death shall be the consequence of this battle. But if it must be we who die, know that this demon wins a victory which will cast a shadow upon our mortal souls and over all this earth for time without end.
ARTHUR. I am not afraid. The fiend has already taken all I had to live for.
SEWARD. Arthur, no….
ARTHUR. Only tell me, Professor – tell me how I might destroy him!
HARKER. I tried, but could not. You don’t know this creature, you’ve no idea what he can do.
VAN HELSING. But I, Mr. Harker, know what we can do.
ARTHUR. Then tell us!
VAN HELSING. Ah, where to begin? Is it understood, Dracula’s powers he has only in the night? But we – we have both the day and the night.
MINA. But if the night is his, how can it be ours as well?
VAN HELSING. By keeping inside a place of safety. That is why we are now here at John’s asylum, for Miss Lucy’s home is not safe. The vampire has been there before; he can now return as he pleases, without invitation.
ARTHUR. Wait a moment – “invitation?” Are you implying that Lucy once invited Dracula into her bedchamber?
VAN HELSING. No, sir. Their first encounter I believe was on her balcony, the night he first arrived.
MINA. Arriving in that awful storm… on that ship!
SEWARD. It had no crew. Not alive, at any rate.
MINA. But a dog.
VAN HELSING. Yes, a vampire can assume many forms.
ARTHUR. This morning, Lucy became like a mist in my hands.
HARKER. At his castle, he was a bat. And below the window, I saw him as a wolf. He killed a peasant woman, Mina – she was fighting for her baby….
VAN HELSING. But this is not his castle, Mr. Harker, and you are safe, for he cannot enter here unless first bid to do so. Still, our greatest protection lies in the keeping of the crucifix, the sacred host, the wild rose, or garlic. From experience we know these can keep the vampire at bay.
HARKER. (Showing all his crucifix.) Not a moment have I been without this cross, not since that night – oh, thank God, Mina, you sent it with me on my journey!
MINA. (Showing her necklace with crucifix.) This necklace I have worn since my first communion.
VAN HELSING. Mr. Holmwood – need you protection?
ARTHUR. I have a knife and a pistol.
(Van Helsing gives Arthur a meaningful look as he offers a crucifix. Arthur takes it, a bit sheepishly.)
VAN HELSING. What about you, John?
SEWARD. Professor, I must confess that I am not – I never have been – a very religious man.
VAN HELSING. No matter; Dracula is. Oh, John – all we have to aid us are the traditions, folklore – superstitions, if you will – for it is within these ancient beliefs the vampire’s power lies. Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are; that some people see things that others cannot? It is the fault of our science today that it wants to explain all; and if science cannot, then it says there is nothing to explain. But look here, John: surrounding yourself with all the latest in technology – inventions, devices…
(He picks up a strange gizmo from Seward’s counter.)
… which, a hundred years ago, would have been deemed impossible – unholy – by the very men who discovered electricity. But why think that because we have achieved this, then this…
(He raises the crucifix beside the gizmo.)
…needs must relinquish its place? No, my friends, I tell you it is this (He emphasizes the crucifix.)
that defines and describes and enables all the wondrous and horrible mysteries in our world. What little we know today or will in future discover, has and ever shall spring forth from this – the source – the greatest mystery and greatest power of all.
(A beat. Seward accepts the crucifix Van Helsing offers to him.)
SEWARD. This is all well and good, Professor, but again I must ask you – what of Dracula’s power? And how are we to destroy him?
VAN HELSING. He may be destroyed during the day when asleep, for the vampire’s rest is a trance as deep as death from which he cannot wake till night does fall again.
ARTHUR. Then shall I see my pistol have effect! I’ll see him sleep forever!
VAN HELSING. No, Mr. Holmwood – your guns and knives would only wound this demon.
HARKER. I tried, with the shovel….
VAN HELSING. How could you have known that only with a stake of oak through the heart can a vampire be true dead, as is now our Lucy?
SEWARD. Yes, but Professor, we knew where to find Lucy.
VAN HELSING. Dracula, too, must rest in the soil in which he was first buried.
HARKER. In Dracula’s tomb, there were peasants shoveling earth into boxes….
ARTHUR. The crates of mouldy soil from the ship!
SEWARD. But fifty of them?!
HARKER. …and then the peasants locked me in. Trapped throughout the night in Dracula’s tomb. Oh, Mina, the terror, with only your cross to protect me!
MINA. Come, Jonathan. Come away up to the bedroom.
(To the others, pleading.)
The memories … and last night … it’s all been far too much.
(She takes Harker’s hand and guides him up the stairs to the bedcahamber.)
Try to forget, husband. Sleep and forget.
(They exit, closing the doors behind them.)
ARTHUR. Gentlemen, I have it! Fifty crates – even Dracula would have had to use a delivery coach. I know the harbourmaster; I’ll have him show me the bill of lading. It’ll tell us where the soil was delivered.
(He starts to don his coat.)
VAN HELSING. Young sir, let me caution you to be discreet; tell not your man why you wish this information.
ARTHUR. A bottle of rum ought to satisfy his questions.
VAN HELSING. Also take heed of the sun’s descent.
ARTHUR. (Consulting his pocketwatch.) Half-past four. I shall return by six.
SEWARD. Good luck.
VAN HELSING. Good luck, indeed! And if our friend succeeds, then tomorrow, while Dracula rests, we can bring this unholy reign of terror to an end. And then, too, all the tormented souls Dracula has corrupted over the centuries will, in the wink of an eye, find release from their Un-Dead purgatory and, by God’s grace, be assembled at the gates of heaven.
(An unearthly cry is heard from the pit below.)
SEWARD. What?! Oh, it’s only Renfield. With Lucy’s illness these past days, I’m afraid I’ve quite neglected my prize patient.
(He and Van Helsing step to the stage apron and lift a small carpet to reveal a grate/trap door over Renfield’s cell. Renfield is huddled against the wall, clutching his stomach as he moans. Music.)
VAN HELSING. His distress today appears to be more of the body than the mind.
SEWARD. Comes as no surprise, what with his diet of flies and spiders and heaven knows what else. Damn it!
VAN HELSING. What, John?
SEWARD. In allowing Mr. Renfield his creatures to consume, in removing the garlic from Lucy’s bedchamber – it seems that all my efforts to be kind bring only greater sorrow.
(A knock at the door; Seward covers the grate.)
BILLY. (A young man, dressed in an attendant’s uniform, enters.) Dr. Seward, sir -- Mr. Renfield’s terrible sick and he’s been askin’ after you again.
SEWARD. Just coming. Tell me, Billy, have you any idea how many insects Mr. Renfield had collected today before gorging himself?
BILLY. (As they exit.) But, sir, it ain’t bugs he’s been eatin’. Today, it’s birds.
VAN HELSING & SEWARD. Birds?!
BILLY. Aye, sir. Doves, in point of fact.
(Light rises on the cell. Renfield releases a great cry of pain.)
RENFIELD. Down, damn you! Down! Keep down!
(He clutches his stomach and then vomits white feathers and bones into a metal bucket. A rattling of keys at the door of the cell and Seward and Van Helsing enter the cell, followed by Billy. Renfield turns to the men, feathers at his lips, and smiles weakly.)
They won’t keep down. They just flutter, flutter back up… as if they was alive.
SEWARD. Take away the bucket, Billy, and fetch Mr. Renfield some fresh water.
BILLY. (Exiting.) Aye, sir.
SEWARD. (Stepping to Renfield.) Here, Mr. Renfield, my handkerchief.
RENFIELD. Oh, keep your damned handkerchief. I can get along without your help.
SEWARD. Can you?
RENFIELD. Yes, because I’ve had to, haven’t I? Where the hell have you been? You abandoned me. I thought I was supposed to be your favourite, and then you went and left me here alone.
SEWARD. My apologies, but I’ve had urgent business.
RENFIELD. Oh, have you now? Well, so have I had. The world don’t begin and end with you, you know. I can manage without you.
SEWARD. So I’ve noticed.
(To Van Helsing.)
First flies, which he captures and eats himself…
RENFIELD. Bother the flies! Ain’t hardly a drop of blood in a fly…bzzzz…bzzz….
SEWARD. But then he leaves off eating, instead feeding the flies to spiders, which, in turn, he feeds to the birds.
RENFIELD. You and your thick-headed Dutchman – you think yourselves right clever, don’t you? Oh, so observing…
But, Professor, I ask you, where’s it all going to end? And why, for goodness, did the loony have to go and eat those poor little birds?
(An angry growl.)
Because they make me sick, that’s why! You should’ve seen ‘em – oh, didn’t they have themselves some party, gobblin’ up them spiders!
SEWARD. Yet you mimic their behaviour, even though you say it revolts you?
RENFIELD. What’s wrong with eatin’ birds? You eat birds, don’t you, Doctor?
SEWARD. While alive?
RENFIELD. “Alive?” Do you refer to the birds or to me?
SEWARD. The birds, of course.
RENFIELD. (To Van Helsing.) Yes, of course, the birds. Not me. For what kind of life have I? I am not alive. But they were. Yes, pretty little white doves – symbols of the Holy Ghost, don’t you know. Oh, but they did like those spiders – they wanted their share of the blood as well. Oh, yes, yes, yes – “the blood is the life.”
VAN HELSING. Your patient quotes from the Holy Scripture.
RENFIELD. Oh, yes, I was a right good Catholic lad, I was, I was…wzzzzz….wzzzz… (He continues buzzing under the following.)
VAN HELSING. But, Mr. Renfield, you quote out of context. I believe the passage reads, “Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh.”
RENFIELD. Wzzzzz…. I was a good Catholic! I knew the catechism! (Pause. Shift to meek demeanor.)
Doctor, can I have a cat?
RENFIELD. A cat to keep. To keep me company. I’m so alone! I promise I’d leave off the doves if only you’d let me have a cat.
SEWARD. So that the cat could eat the doves and then you could eat the cat? No, Mr. Renfield.
RENFIELD. What do you care?
SEWARD. I care a great deal.
SEWARD. I must.
RENFIELD. Then set me free.
SEWARD. I can’t.
RENFIELD. You can!
SEWARD. Not until I see you well.
RENFIELD. I’ll never be well; not by your hand. Not as long as you keep me here. You great hypocrite! You think me cruel for collecting my flies and spiders and birds while you – you collect people: human souls – to study and torment and rob them of their lives. How do you think I feel when you and your oh-so-distinguished colleagues look down on me from your cozy little library up above? For pity’s sake; I am not an experiment! Have you no shame?
SEWARD. I apologize. We are only doing our humble best to help you, Mr. Renfield.
RENFIELD. But I am past your help. What must I do to make you see that? Oh, please, please release me, I beg you, before it is too late!
SEWARD. I cannot.
RENFIELD. You will not.
(A pause. In the demi-lit library above, Mina enters from the bedchamber and begins to descend the stairs.)
Doctor? Could you tell Billy to let me have some more sugar?
SEWARD. Sugar? To capture your flies? You intend to start over, do you?
RENFIELD. Well? Will you?
SEWARD. (A sigh.) Yes, Mr. Renfield, I’ll have him bring you a cup of sugar.
RENFIELD. A cup? Oh, you’re more than generous, Doctor. No rush. It’s almost night; the flies won’t come till morning. I can wait. I can wait.
(Cocking an ear.)
Ah, I hear footsteps above. A woman’s footsteps. Is she the one you wanted to marry?
SEWARD. How did you know I wanted to marry anyone?
RENFIELD. Come, come, Doctor – just as you study us, you must appreciate that we, your little family of servants and lunatics, take an interest in studying you. Does that make you uneasy? Oh, I certainly hope… not.
(An impish grin.)
Go, then. See to the lady, whomever she may be. I thank you for your visit. Good evening.
(Van Helsing and Seward do not move. A growl.)
I said, “Good evening!”
(The doctors bow and exit. Renfield looks out the window of his cell as red-tinged light of sunset casts shadows of bars across him. Music.)
Soon the sun will sink,
and with its caressing ‘gainst the earth,
the white, snow-covered ground will blush
pink as a maiden’s cheek at the bridegroom’s hand.
But from rose-pink the blood-red needs must follow,
becoming, finally, black with shadows blue.
Then the battered, weary day – having met the night –
dreams in sleep as deep as death to wake and ache with morning.
(Lights fade on Renfield and rise full on the library where Mina has been sitting, reading Harker’s battered journal. Seward and Van Helsing enter.)
SEWARD. Mrs. Harker – you’re not resting?
MINA. Jonathan is. But my mind simply won’t stop racing. I thought I’d make use of the time re-reading his journal. It’s just now occurred to me: wouldn’t it make sense for Dracula to have had his crates of earth delivered to the property he purchased?
VAN HELSING. Yes, of course!
MINA. Well, here – my husband made not of the address.
ARTHUR. (Entering.) Carfax Abbey!
ARTHUR. Not half a mile from this asylum – that’s where our demon lies.
(The housekeeper Martha enters with a tray of dinnerware and Van Helsing gestures for silence.)
MARTHA. Beggin’ your pardon, Doctor – only me with the supper things. Just let me set the silver and then I’ll be out of your way while’s I fetch the food.
SEWARD. Thank you, Martha; we can manage the dinnerware.
MARTHA. As you wish, sir.
(She turns to exit. Mina heads for the stairway.)
MINA. I’ll go waken Jonathan.
(Martha screams as Renfield enters, shoving her aside, pursued by Billy. Renfield grabs Mina and holds her in front of him as a shield. Music:)
SEWARD. Mr. Renfield! Let Mrs. Harker free!
BILLY. I just come into his cell and…
SEWARD. Mr. Renfield, release her, I say!
RENFIELD. No! If I keep her, you’ll not harm me.
ARTHUR. It’s you who harms a woman!
RENFIELD. You think this harm? I ought to take her with me, that’s what I ought to do. This ain’t no place for a woman – ain’t no place for no one! She’ll go mad here if she stays; mad just like me. Now, Doctor – tell your Billy boy to unlock the main door and set me free of this hellish place!
SEWARD. (A beat. Resolutely.) No.
(Renfield grabs a knife from the tray Martha had left on the table and puts the knife to Mina’s throat.)
RENFIELD. Tell him!
(Harker appears through the door at the top of the stairs.)
(Renfield whirls in surprise toward Harker, allowing Arthur to knock the knife from Renfield’s hand as Van Helsing pulls Mina away and Seward and Billy pin Renfield down on the floor. Harker rushes to Mina. [N.B. If Mina’s crucifix necklace is noticeable, it must be removed in the scuffle to be discovered on the floor in the next scene.])
RENFIELD. (A desparate wail.) Let me go! For God’s sake, I beg you!
SEWARD. Martha, fetch a straitjacket! Hurry!
(Martha exits. Harker and Van Helsing are beside Mina, who sits in a chair by the fireplace.)
MINA. I’m all right, Jonathan.
HARKER. No, you’re not – your neck is bleeding!
MINA. It’s only a scratch.
VAN HELSING. I’ll get a bandage.
HARKER. (Pouncing on Renfield.) Coward! You might’ve murdered her!
(Arthur pulls Harker away.)
RENFIELD. No! Let him go! Let him kill me! Oh, please, if I cannot be free, won’t somebody kill me?! Do what you will – anything – but don’t take me back to that cell!
(Martha enters with straitjacket and Seward and Billy place it on Renfield. Van Helsing daubs Mina’s neck with a bandage.)
No, not the straitjacket! Oh, God help me, I’m afraid. I’m afraid of the flies, the spiders… afraid of the doves, the dark….
(Billy, Seward, and Renfield are off. Martha picks up the knife from the floor.)
MARTHA. I’m telling you, that Mr. Renfield is not a normal lunatic.
(A distant sound of metal clanging: the echo of tin buckets against iron bars and the wailing of many asylum patients.)
HARKER. (Covering his ears with a moan.) Dear God, now what?!
MARTHA. Only the rest of ‘em, that’s all. Must be a full moon. I’d best go help.
(She exits. Van Helsing finishes bandaging Mina’s neck.)
VAN HELSING. There, Madam Mina. It ought to heal in no time.
MINA. Thank you.
VAN HELSING. Now I, too, should see what assistance I might offer my colleague.
ARTHUR. Perhaps I could lend a hand?
VAN HELSING. I’m sure it would be much appreciated, Mr. Holmwood. This way.
(Van Helsing and Arthur exit. Harker heads up the stairs.)
HARKER. Come, Mina – let’s gather our things.
HARKER. “Come,” I said. You and I are leaving this place.
MINA. But, Jonathan, we can’t …
HARKER. You don’t expect me to stay here where my wife can be assaulted by madmen.
MINA. (Impatient.) Jonathan, really – I’m perfectly fine!
HARKER. (Moving to her.) And thank God for it. I, however, do not wish to press our luck.
(A loud wail as Renfield is tossed into his cell below; Harker covers his ears yet again.)
Oh, when will this torment end?!
MINA. They’ll be quiet, once they’re given comfort.
HARKER. Comfort? How? By Seward’s drugs?
MINA. No, I meant from concern, from love.
HARKER. (A breath.) Forgive me, my darling. It’s only that I … I love you … with all my heart.
MINA. I know. But Jonathan – you must try not to let that love bring such despair.
JONATHAN. I want you never to be hurt. I don’t want you ever to die.
MINA. Yet I must … as all of us must… one day. But for now, let me hold you Jonathan. Only let me hold you close.
HARKER. (A tight embrace.) Oh, my love, yes… yes…
(In the cell below, Renfield moans, then suddenly rises to his knees and looks with horror, then fascination, out the window before him. Music.)
(He nods his head.)
(A mist from the window fills the cell as the straps binding his arms are magically released. Renfield raises his arms in wonder and laughs with mad delight as the mist rushes over him. In the library above, Mina and Harker slowly ascend the stairs to the bedchamber. The clamoring of the lunatics’ pans, along with their moans, the music, and Renfield’s maniacal laughter crescendo as the mist makes its way into the library and swirls at the base of the stairs. Lights fade to Blackout.)
Act II, Scene ii.
(Lights rise on Martha setting out plates, cups and saucers, etc. It is just before sunset, the following day. She reaches down to the floor and picks up Mina’s crucifix necklace.)
MARTHA. Now, what’s this here? A necklace? Must be Mrs. Harker’s. Must’ve come off in the struggle last night.
(A clock chimes six.)
Six o’clock already? Best prepare tea for Doctor Seward and…
(She places the necklace in her pocket. Seward has entered, removing his overcoat, followed by Van Helsing and Arthur. They are quite weary.)
SEWARD. (To Martha.) What’s that?
MARTHA. (Startled.) Oh, good Lord!
SEWARD. Sorry, Martha. I thought I heard you mention my name.
MARTHA. And what if I did? Just because I talk to myself now and then don’t mean I’m a loony.
SEWARD. I never thought you were. But now that you mention it…
MARTHA. Don’t. Not even in jest. I’ll be off then to fetch your tea.
SEWARD. Thank you, Martha. Also, would you be so kind as to send Billy in? I’d like to hear how the patients were today.
MARTHA. Nary a peep from a one of them, I can tell you that much. All tuckered out from the row they made the night long, I reckon.
SEWARD. Still, if you would please find Billy.
MARTHA. (As she exits.) Very good. But I’m telling you, this place has been silent as the grave the whole day long.
ARTHUR. “Silent as the grave.” If she only knew.
VAN HELSING. But she must not. Imagine the hysteria were others to know.
ARTHUR. Yet sooner or later I’m afraid they must. Dracula’s still out there somewhere. Only forty-nine crates we found today.
VAN HELSING. And now sterilized with the sacred host, they are useless to him. It leaves but one as Dracula’s refuge.
SEWARD. Damn the fiend for hiding away that one last box! It’s as if he knew we had planned to seek him out today. As if he read our minds.
ARTHUR. But he couldn’t have … could he?
VAN HELSING. Only the thoughts of one of his own disciples can the vampire read, and only we knew of our plans, and none of us are vampires… are we?
(Seward and Arthur look suspiciously at one another, then sigh at the absurdity of the question. Van Helsing chuckles.)
No – I think it reasonable to assume that Dracula went to Lucy’s crypt last night, discovered her no longer Un-Dead, realized that we were on his trail, and so moved one box away for safety.
ARTHUR. And it could be anywhere – almost anywhere in England.
SEWARD. Now, Arthur, he can’t have gotten too far – not in one night.
ARTHUR. No, but here it is – sunset again. And here we are, sitting inside like little children frightened of the dark while he flees farther from us. Know what I think? I say, never mind the night, for as long as Dracula roams free, we’re all doomed anyway, so let’s get right back out there and make a proper fight of it!
SEWARD. Professor? After all, we do have our crosses to protect us.
VAN HELSING. (After a moment’s thought.) Very well, the hunt is up! We’ll tell the Harkers…
ARTHUR. Why, yes – where are they?
SEWARD. They were still asleep when we left this morning.
(Van Helsing and Seward re-don their overcoats and collect their bags as Arthur runs up the stairs to knock at the bedroom door.)
ARTHUR. Jonathan? Mina?
MARTHA. (Entering with a tray of tea.) I told Billy you were wanting him, but he’s still down in the cells with Mr. Renfield and Mrs. Harker.
MARTHA. About ten minutes ago she came down – after she and her young man sleeping the whole day through, I might add – then she says she wants a little chat with Mr. Renfield. Lord knows why, but it ain’t a servant’s place to question the lady, is it?
SEWARD. Arthur! Tell Jonathan that Mina’s with us! Professor?! (Seward and Van Helsing rush out.)
MARTHA. (Following.) Doctor Seward? Your tea!
HARKER. (Opening the bedroom door. A yawn.) Hello, Arthur. What is it?
ARTHUR. Uh… nothing, old chap. Tea-time.
HARKER. Tea? Do you mean to tell me it’s already evening?
ARTHUR. Yes, just about. Come, Jonathan, let me pour you a cup and I’ll tell you about our day.
(Light fade to demi-light on library and rise on Renfield’s cell, where Mina is seated on the bench with Renfield’s head in her lap. She strokes his hair like a comforting mother as they gaze out the window at the final red rays of sunset.)
MINA. There, there. You see? The dark is nothing to fear.
RENFIELD. But it’s fearsome to be alone. That’s why I kept pets, you know.
MINA. Yes, but you don’t have to be alone ever again. Just whisper soft to the night. I tell you, there is a rare and wondrous peace to be found in it.
(Seward and Van Helsing enter, with Billy behind them.)
BILLY. (Responding to a reprimand.) But she insisted on seeing him. And nothing’s happened; I’ve been right here all along.
SEWARD. Yes, Billy, we’ll discuss this matter later.
MINA. Doctor, Professor – you don’t mean to scold us, do you? Mr. Renfield is really not a threat any longer. I only wanted to be certain he did not feel badly for my sake, after last night.
SEWARD. You are a most compassionate soul, Mrs. Harker.
MINA. You flatter me.
VAN HELSING. And how are you feeling?
MINA. Me? Quite well, thank you.
VAN HELSING. The wound on your neck, is it healing?
MINA. (Rapidly touching her neck, which is covered by a high collar.) Professor?!
(Suddenly understanding the question.)
Ah, from Mr. Renfield’s knife. Yes, it’s fine.
(Rising, to Renfield.)
I’ll bid you goodnight now, Raymond. Thank you.
(Mina exits. Seward and Van Hesling turn to follow.)
Doctor Seward? Professor Van Helsing? A word?
SEWARD. (Not wanting to stay.) I suppose, Mr. Renfield, if it’s brief. Billy – see the lady up, would you?
BILLY. (Exiting.) Aye, sir.
SEWARD. Well? You’ve something you wish to say, Mr. Renfield?
RENFIELD. Indeed I have. I want you to know that I am, truly, sorry. Can you forgive me?
SEWARD. I don’t hold my patients responsible for what they do. You’re not well.
RENFIELD. I am not well. I am not responsible. But why then do I feel such guilt…such pain? I know she meant only to comfort me, but her words – oh, Lord – that woman’s words do make my soul afraid!
VAN HELSING. Why? What did Mrs. Harker say to you?
RENFIELD. She spoke of a dream.
(Renfield’s speech and mannerisms will grow increasingly agitated.)
Ha – a dream she thinks it was! Oh, how I sometimes pity the lot of you. You, the sane – what skill you have in deceiving yourselves. You haven’t the need, do you – to doubt what is truth, what is imagination? Oh, but I, sitting alone day upon day, night upon night, here in my little cell – oh, yes – I’ve learned how to doubt. And once a fellow’s learned that … well, it’s like Pandora’s box, isn’t it? – yes, madness – madness and doubt, woe without end, Amen. Ah, well. What’s done is done.
VAN HELSING. What is done? To what do you refer?
RENFIELD. I refer to Mrs. Harker’s little dream last night, that’s what. Oh, for pity’s sake, you two are greater fools than I!
(Renfield looks at them for a moment and begins to breathe heavily, then softly, a giggle altering into a sort of hysterical laugh. In the library above, Mina and Billy have entered. Harker rises to kiss Mina but she turns her cheek away.)
MINA. (Ascending stairs.) Give me a moment to change?
MARTHA. (Holding crucifix necklace.) Mrs. Harker – is this your necklace?
(Mina shuts door behind her without responding. Now Renfield’s laughter can be heard from below.)
Oh, here we go again.
(Billy moves to the stage apron to pull away the rug from the cell trapdoor.)
SEWARD. Stop it, Renfield! Tell us what you know!
RENFIELD. I begged you. I pleaded. But no – you dragged me back here – back to this window, this portal of hell...
BILLY. (Kneeling, unlocking trapdoor.) Dr. Seward? Are you all right?
RENFIELD. You’re to blame, not me. I wanted only life – living things to keep with me – within me. I was alone. He said he’d comfort me. Yes, I let him in. But how was I to know it was the lady he wanted? And not me?!
SEWARD. (To Van Helsing.) Dracula?!
VAN HELSING. Madame Mina!
SEWARD. Billy, let us up!
(Billy pulls up the trapdoor and helps Van Helsing and Seward up into the library, then shuts it on Renfield as Arthur and Harker rush forward.)
VAN HELSING. Your wife, Harker!
HARKER. In the bedroom.
SEWARD. (To Billy and Martha.) Get out of here! Out, I say! At once!
(Billy and Martha quickly obey as Van Helsing, Arthur, and Seward run up the stairs as Harker stands below, frozen in fear.)
HARKER. No! No, not my Mina!
RENFIELD. (Still in the cell below – a wail.) Me! He should have taken me!
(With a great thrust Renfield opens up the trapdoor and crawls up into the library.)
Me! It would not be such a suffering for me!
SEWARD. (Pounding at the locked bedchamber door.) Mina?! Mina!
VAN HELSING. Locked!
ARTHUR. My pistol! Stand away!
(From a side angle, Arthur fires at the doorknob. The door bursts open with such force as to send the men reeling back. Out of the mist-filled doorway tumbles Mina, her mouth and chin smeared with blood. A large black bat hovers above her before retreating into the bedroom.)
HARKER. The bat! Dracula!
(Arthur shoots at the bat as Van Helsing and Seward grab the senseless Mina and guide her downstairs to the library table and sits her in the chair while Harker covers his eyes at the horror.)
VAN HELSING. (To Seward.) John, a cloth – quickly, before she wakes!
HARKER. (Moving toward Mina.) Oh, Mina…
VAN HELSING. Take care! Do not touch his blood!
SEWARD. (Wiping Mina’s face.) “His blood?!”
ARTHUR. (Reappears from bedroom and descends the stairs.) Dracula’s gone – flown out the window.
VAN HELSING. (Reaching into his pocket.) He may return. Men, your crosses. And here: the sacred host.
(He quickly touches the wafer to each man’s forehead [except Renfield] and intones a Latin blessing.)
Corpus Domine nostri miserere. (When he touches the wafer to Mina’s forehead, it bursts into flame and she “awakens” with a scream and collapses to the floor as all recoil. Music.)
MINA. (A wail of agony.) What has happened to me? Husband?! Oh, please, can’t somebody help me?!
(She lifts her head to reveal a horrible, crimson scar on her forehead, left by the flaming Eucharist. The scar is virtually identical to the one on Dracula's forehead, caused by Harker's shovel blow from the crypt in Transylvania.)
HARKER. (Afraid to touch her.) Oh, Mina, my love…my wife… my Mina…
DRACULA. (Voice-over.) My Mina! My wife! Mine!
(A burst of wind and smoke from the fireplace extinguishes all sources of light except for the red, now roaring, fire in the fireplace from out of which Dracula enters the room. Renfield shouts and cowers at the vampire’s appearance: not the aged Count we met in Transylvania but now young and invigorated, and with a blazing red scar on his forehead. Dracula’s shirt is unbuttoned, revealing near his heart an open, bleeding wound. From offstage, as in the night previous, the lunatics clamor. Their cries continue under the scene until Dracula’s exit.)
DRACULA. You call me Master yet betray me to mine enemies? Judas.
RENFIELD (Crawling on his knees toward Dracula.) You abandoned me… used me!
VAN HELSING. (Reaching a crucifix toward Renfield.) Renfield, come away! Here… the cross!
DRACULA. (To Van Helsing as he steps toward Renfield.) Another step and I dash his brains out.
(Van Helsing freezes. Renfield doesn’t know to whom to appeal.)
He is mine, as is the woman.
DRACULA. What fools, to play your wits against me. You think to leave me without a place of rest? Ah, but Van Helsing, I have plenty more earth at home. And once there, I can wait. I have waited centuries; I can wait again. (To Harker.) And with your woman at my side.
MINA. (Sobbing.) My God, my God – pity me!
DRACULA. Your God has forsaken you, Mina.
(Indicating the scar on his forehead.)
See now how alike we are, you and I? Yes, Mina – I, Dracula, am your lord and partner now.
MINA. (Touching her forehead, seeing the blood.) What have I done to deserve such a fate?
DRACULA. You gave to me your blood …
(Indicating his bloody chest.)
… and also drank of mine.
MINA. I am unclean! Unclean!
DRACULA. And thus, you are theirs no longer. Now and forevermore, blood of MY blood, flesh of MY flesh – our minds and souls united so you may know my every desire and do as I bid.
HARKER. (Stepping between Dracula and Mina with his crucifix outstretched.) No!
DRACULA. (Retreating, ascending the stairs.) Pathetic boy, who slept helpless beside your bride while I slaked her thirst!
RENFIELD. (Arms outstretched toward Dracula.) I thirst!
DRACULA. Do you? Oh, poor, thirsty madman – come then. Come and take communion.
SEWARD. Renfield, no!
(Seward, Arthur, and Van Helsing rush forward with their crosses but Renfield scampers on his hands and knees up the stairs to Dracula, who takes Renfield in his arms and uses him as a shield against the men.)
DRACULA. So be it. Let your Christ then give the wretch his satisfaction.
(Dracula breaks Renfield’s neck and lets him drop, lifeless, upon the stairs.)
My revenge is just begun!
(With a burst of smoke from the doors of the bedroom, Dracula disappears. The flames of the fireplace die. All the panels of the library walls burst open, then dissemble into the void to the amazement and fear of the men: now they are utterly, completely vulnerable. Act scrim begins to descend, as a pool of dim light isolates the heroes into a sort of island in the vast, eerie nothingness.)
Act II, Scene iii.
(Continuous with the preceding. Harker hovers, moaning, over Mina who swoons on the floor. Arthur lights a candle and joins Van Helsing and Seward beside Mina.)
HARKER. Professor? What can we do?
ARTHUR. We must give chase, Man – give chase!
SEWARD. But where?
VAN HELSING. Dracula’s words: more earth at home.
HARKER. Transylvania?! No!
VAN HELSING. But to be certain… Madame Mina?
MINA. Tell me nothing! If Dracula knows now all my thoughts, then I am your enemy. Please don’t let me harm you!
VAN HELSING. It is your help I seek. As the vampire reads your mind, so then must you read his. Your powers of intuition are great.
MINA. In dreaming only.
VAN HELSING. Dream then.
VAN HELSING. By hypnosis. (He gestures for Arthur to hand him the candle.)
MINA. (To Harker.) You’ll not leave me?
HARKER. Never! Never again!
VAN HELSING. (Waving candle before Mina.) Cast away all fear. Relax, Mina Harker. Gaze at the flame. Breathe deeply and without fear.
Close your eyes. Close your eyes and dream. Tell us what you see, what you hear, what you feel. Tell us what Dracula sees, what he hears, what he feels. Tell us.
(Mina sighs rhythmically, then begins to whimper.)
You are with him?
MINA. I am.
VAN HELSING. What do you feel?
VAN HELSING. What does Dracula feel?
MINA. Fear. He must flee.
VAN HELSING. Dracula must flee – where? To Transylvania?
MINA. Yes. Here is but one box… at home there are many.
VAN HELSING. How does he travel?
MINA. Within the box. He is afraid to leave the box lest it, too, be discovered and sterilized.
VAN HELSING. And how goes the box?
MINA. By ship, by sea, by river … to home ….
VAN HELSING. Very well. We follow!
(Mina remains in her trance as Van Helsing and Harker crouch beside her; Arthur and Seward step away into the void. Music alters, along with sound effects to suggest the journey, as swirling patterns of shadow and light flutter on the scrim-screen behind them. Sound of crashing waves.)
Madame Mina? What do you hear?
MINA. Water…waves of water… pounding against the hull of the ship…water pounding…crashing… or is it blood? Pulsing blood.
(Her voice lowers in register.)
Ah, my heart… it beats so slowly… it is like death….
HARKER. (Alarmed.) Professor?!
VAN HELSING. Yes, Jonathan, she is changing. But your Mina shall remain safely human so long as Dracula sleeps, which he must until he is at home.
MINA. We are near. Near home. I can hear my countrymen…
(Sound of horses whinnying, hoofbeats, and the muffled Romanian speech of two male peasants in recorded voice-over.)
PEASANT I. Baga de seama cu lada.
PEASANT II. Unde ducem lada?
PEASANT I. Prin pasul Borga.
PEASANT II. Castelul lui Dracula?! Doamne ajuta!
MINA. Ignorant peasants! Ah, yes, in their pony cart the fools will carry me home!
VAN HELSING. Jonathan? Can you recall which way?
HARKER. It was night. All dark, wild country….
MINA. This is the way…we are near…another day and I will be home… this is the way.
(She has slowly descended to a position of sleep upon the ground.)
VAN HELSING. (Leaning over her.) Which way? This way? Speak, Madame Mina! Tell us, I command you!
(The whirling images and music come to an abrupt halt. Through the scrim, the silhouette of a mountain wilderness. Deep night. Hollow wind and light snowfall.)
MINA. (Opens her eyes, annoyed.) Professor, why do you order me about as if I were a naughty child?
VAN HELSING. (Extinguishing the candle.) Forgive me, Madame.
MINA. (Looking about.) Are we nearly there?
HARKER. I believe so, yes.
MINA. (Curtly.) “Believe?” Shouldn’t you know?
HARKER. I can’t remember.
MINA. But your diary, Jonathan – you described it all in great detail. Look, see there that mountain behind which the moon is setting?
HARKER. Why, yes. There it is. Castle Dracula. No more than three hours’ ride on horseback.
VAN HELSING. But uphill all the way. Come – let us join our friends at rest by the fire. Soon will be the sunrise when we must journey forth.
(Van Helsing exits.)
MINA. Jonathan? Before we join the others…
HARKER. What is it, my love?
MINA. “Your love.” Still you can love me?
HARKER. Till death us do part.
MINA. (Stepping away from him.) May I beg of you a favor, Jonathan?
MINA. We know we must fight the Count Dracula. We’re all of us agreed it must be a struggle to the death. Yet I beg you, Husband, let it not be a work of hate. Just as Arthur’s brave act of love gave Lucy’s soul its freedom, couldn’t we let it also be our love that conquers the monster?
HARKER. Love Dracula?!
MINA. Think of his years of misery: without life, without death. Then imagine his great joy when he is freed from his earthly torment. Yes, my husband, love and pity the vampire, for should we fail, I will need such love and pity, too.
HARKER. We shall NOT fail!
MINA. God alone knows that. Therefore, Jonathan, should Dracula win his victory, you must promise further that you will kill me. Without hesitation. Lest I destroy you.
MINA. If I am to die, I beg you let it be by your hand. The hand that loves me best.
(Harker falls to his knees, weeping.)
Promise me, Jonathan? On this – what may well be our last night together – your promise is the only comfort I can know. Promise me!
HARKER. (An anguished cry.) Yes! Yes, Mina, I will do what you ask.
MINA. Sweet, gentle Jonathan. It seems the curse of Dracula has robbed me also of my tears – for how I do yearn to weep with you, but cannot.
(The howl of a wolf, quite close. Seward’s voice is heard nearby, calling from the darkness.)
SEWARD. Harker?! Mina?! That wolf sounds too near! Come to the fire!
(Harker and Mina exit the forestage and Arthur, Seward, and Van Helsing are revealed in a scrim bleed-through at a campfire on an outcropping of boulders beneath the canopy of a gnarled broken tree. Snowfall continues. Offstage, the frightened whinnying of their horses.)
Act II, Scene iv.
ARTHUR. The horses – I’ll go see if I can calm them. (He starts offstage.)
VAN HELSING. Mr. Holmwood? You have with you your crucifix?
ARTHUR. I have. And my pistol. (Arthur exits. Van Helsing is walking in a wide circle around the fire, sprinkling what appears to be dust in his tracks.)
SEWARD. Professor, I notice you’ve been walking in a circle.
VAN HELSING. Yes – a little experiment.
(Harker and Mina appear and head toward the campfire. Van Helsing waits for them to pass, then finishes his circle and brushes his hands.)
Wait, my friends. Before you rest, would you kindly come here to me a moment?
HARKER. (Draping a blanket over Mina’s shoulders.) What is it, Professor?
VAN HELSING. Nothing to fear. Please.
(Harker and Seward step toward Van Helsing.)
(When Mina turns to oblige him, she is strangely halted at the circumference of the circle.)
MINA. I cannot!
VAN HELSING. Excellent!
SEWARD. I see. You’ve made a circle on the earth of the sacred host.
VAN HELSING. I have.
HARKER. (Going back to Mina.) For God’s sake, has my wife not suffered enough that you should mock her with a game?!
MINA. It is no game, Jonathan. The Professor was only testing a means for my protection, since I am denied the crucifix and communion wafer. Yet it is you men – you who will most need the safety of this circle. (Another loud howl from a wolf offstage, joined immediately by two others. Arthur runs in to the campfire.)
ARTHUR. Three wolves – white, enormous – coming this way! The rifles! Quick, before they attack the horses!
MINA. Stay, Arthur.
ARTHUR. But the wolves…!
MINA. Your bullets cannot harm them.
HARKER. Not wolves. Dracula’s brides.
MINA. Yes, Husband.
Horses scream in terror. A rush of wind and the snowfall becomes a whirling blizzard.)
HARKER. Mina, I’m afraid!
HARKER. Afraid for you!
MINA. For me?
(A low laugh.)
Oh, Jonathan – no one in all the world is safer from them than me.
(From out of the darkness the Brides appear and hover above the boulders at the edge of the circle, beckoning and murmuring.)
SEWARD. So beautiful…
VAN HELSING. So youthful…
ARTHUR. So fragile … so like my Lucy…
(The unmarried men step toward the Brides. Mina grabs Arthur’s arm and pulls him, Seward, and Van Helsing urgently nearer the fire, turning their faces away from the sight of the Brides.)
MINA. No, Arthur, no! Lucy loved you; these creatures do not! Don’t listen to them! Stay within the circle! (She pulls her hair back from her face.)
Look to me, all of you! See here my brow, crimson with the mark of sin and sorrow! This is all they offer you! This is all!
(The Brides’ chanting and the music crescendo as the Heroes hold hands around the fire. The wind and horses’ screams rise to a frenzy, then a slash of red light – dawn – appears in the sky, bringing a sweeping rush of silence as the Brides vanish.)
They are gone now. The sun has risen and they must sleep.
SEWARD. Until they wake again tonight.
ARTHUR. No! By tonight they and their demon Master shall be put to sleep forever. Jonathan, help me with the horses?
(He and Harker rush offstage as Seward and Van Helsing quickly begin packing. Mina looks in the direction of Arthur and Harker’s exit.)
MINA. (Under her breath.) Oh, Arthur… Jonathan … please not a work of hate.
VAN HELSING. Madame Mina?
ARTHUR. (Offstage.) Oh, dear God!
SEWARD. (A call.) Arthur?
MINA. Dead. The horses…
ARTHUR. (Re-entering.) The horses are dead.
HARKER. (Following Arthur in.) Castle Dracula… on foot it’s a full day’s journey at the least.
VAN HELSING. Then we had best make haste, for every moment of this day is precious. Quickly, my friends – and pray merciful God we reach the crypt before the peasants and Dracula.
SEWARD. And before sunset.
Van Helsing, Seward, and Arthur rush off. Harker swoops Mina up into this arms and carries her over the sanctified circle and follows the others as lights quickly fade to Blackout.)
Act II, Scene v.
(Music continues. The crypt at Castle Dracula, as at the end of the Prologue. A shaft of light – moments before sunset – pierces the dusty air from the portal at the top of the stairway, revealing the sarcophagus below and Three Peasants hurriedly placing the wooden coffin in its resting place. The sound of approaching voices causes the Peasants to quickly finish their work and rush toward the stairs to leave as Harker, Van Helsing, Seward, Arthur, and Mina appear in the portal, breathless.)
HARKER. The crypt! Here it is!
SEWARD. The sun! Hurry, the sun is setting!
VAN HELSING. There is still a minute’s time!
ARTHUR. The peasants!
VAN HELSING. The box!
PEASANTS. Iute! Sa iesim de-aici! Sa fugim! Nosferatu!
ARTHUR. (To Peasants.) Out of our way!
(He brandishes his knife. Peasant I reveals his own knife. A face-off on the stairs between Arthur and Peasant I as other two Peasants rush past them and out the portal.)
VAN HELSING. (Approaching coffin, with Seward behind him.) No, Arthur! Let them go! Not us they fear but Dracula!
(Arthur cries out in great pain as he is stabbed in the chest by Peasant’s knife. Peasant flees. Seward turns back to help Arthur.)
HARKER. (At top of the stairs with Mina, as Peasant rushes past.) Mina – stay here!
MINA. (Gazing upstage at the sky.) Hurry! The sun!
(As Van Helsing tries to open coffin lid, Seward and Harker hover over Arthur who has crumpled at the base of the stairway.)
SEWARD. Arthur! You’re wounded!
ARTHUR. (Waving him away.) No! Dracula! Destroy Dracula!
MINA. The sun!
HARKER. Mina! Help Arthur!
MINA. The sun is gone!
HARKER. He bleeds!
(Mina whirls around to face the crypt, revealing blazing eyes and vampire fangs as Seward and Harker rush to assist Van Helsing in prying open the lid of Dracula’s coffin. Brides appear from the depths of the crypt’s shadows.)
ARTHUR. (A warning to the Men.) Dracula’s brides!
MINA. (Descending the stairs toward Arthur.) My sisters!
(The coffin lid is off. Dracula rises – aged again. Harker and Seward step back from the approaching Brides.)
VAN HELSING. The cross!
(Harker and Seward rush toward the coffin, holding forth their crosses. Dracula freezes and snarls.)
The wafer! Corpus Domini …
(Van Helsing tosses a wafer at Dracula, which blazes on impact causing Dracula to scream and fall back, writhing. Van Helsing grabs a mallet as Harker and Seward hold steady a wooden stake at Dracula’s chest.)
ARTHUR. (As Mina hovers over him.) Mina! No, Mina!
VAN HELSING. (Raising the mallet over the stake.) Per Christum…
(Pound. Dracula screams.)
(Third and final pound of the stake. A tremendous blaze and escape of dust rushes out from the coffin as Dracula’s screaming crescendos and fades as he disintegrates. Brides also vanish. Van Helsing kneels beside the coffin, his energy spent. Dust dissipates to reveal ancient skeleton in coffin. A moment of silence.)
SEWARD. But Arthur…
(Mina, on her knees above Arthur, turns, sobbing, and stretches out her arms in an appeal to the others.)
MINA. Help him! He’s dying!
(Seward kneels over Arthur, whose head rests in Mina’s lap. Music.)
SEWARD. There is no help for him now.
HARKER. The knife – gone straight through his heart.
ARTHUR. My heart? Oh, yes, I gave it to Lucy long ago. I give it again.
MINA. Stay with us, Arthur! Stay!
ARTHUR. (Reaching up to touch Mina’s face.) Dear Mina … your tears: so warm. And your brow… look!
(He clutches at Seward’s lapels and pulls himself up with a great, final effort.)
The curse … the curse has passed away!
HARKER. (Joyously embracing his wife.) Mina!
(Arthur dies in Seward’s arms. Mina and Harker cross themselves as Seward gently lays Arthur back down against the stairway. Harker extends his hand to his wife and helps her to her feet.)
(Slowly, Harker and Mina begin to ascend the stairs. The distant, mournful howling of wolves from outside in the wilderness. Through the portal, a clear, star-filled sky. Van Helsing has risen back to his feet and gazes into the coffin of dust.)
MINA. Hear the wolves. Poor creatures. How they cry.
VAN HELSING. No, my friends. For this evening, the sun in its setting has brought to them a kind of peace. Nevermore may the darkness be so empty, deep, or fearful.
(Howling continues. Music.
Ah, yes – the children of the night – I believe it is a requiem they sing.
(Lights slowly fade to Blackout.)