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When I was told that there would be a Nosferatu theatrical play in Lancaster, and that I could write a review about it, I instantly remembered the memorable 1922 Murnau’s film under the same name. The film itself has been one of my favourites ever since I first saw it at the age of 15, and I still nowadays find myself debating with friends on how it is, in my opinion, one of the best vampire films ever made. The play however, had a completely different approach to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. A different approach that resulted to in a beautifully symbolic piece which transfers us to another time and place. It is fair to say that I really enjoyed it with the best company I could ever have asked for.
Arriving at the venue, after running under the rain like we were being persecuted by Nosferatu itself, I instantly felt that beautiful ambience that you can only get in theatres.
We were taken somewhere else, hypnotised by the live soundtrack and the low lightning, letting us forget about everything that was happening outside the theatre. All the worries of the week seemed to be left somewhere on the queue when we were entering the room.
It all started, as expected, with absolute darkness. Suddenly, a loud and unexpected sound of thunder along with flashing lights announced the beginning of the play, a moment in which we all knew we had to remain silent and pay attention to all the little symbolic details of the story.
This musical and very poetical adaptation of Dracula’s sailors’ journey requires a prepared audience, one that can analyse the words and understand the metaphors behind the verses. This does not prevent everyone from enjoying it, since there are so many other things that make this show an amazing one, but it is important to bear in mind that it is a complex story and there is a lot to take in.
Another interesting detail that I could not avoid worshipping, is the outstanding scenario that hosted the play. The entire story happens in the same place, a boat, and it all happens in the course of a night. The low lights and quiet cello music in the background, along with the operatic songs performed by the three characters can make you feel like you have entered a dream. Not to mention that it all happens in the open sea, where any human would face the complicated situation in which people see each other and themselves differently.
The ideals of religion, science, death and fate are the main enigmas within the lost remaining members of the crew. Each of the characters have very different conceptions of life, and these differences make the journey an intense one, and it only makes the audience relate to the complex questions and debates brought up during the play. I don’t believe I was alone in leaving the theatre whilst reflecting upon the themes Nosferatu brought forward.