Interview with James Gaddas Dracula

Interview with James Gaddas Dracula

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Posted 2022-02-05 by Tony Collinsfollow

Sun 20 Feb 2022

Interview with James Gaddas (Dracula)

We all know the story of Dracula, don't we? Not if you ask actor James Gaddas who will take on the role of the Lord of the Undead at Lichfield Garrick theatre on Sunday 20 February. The one-man play, simply titled Dracula, will see James take on 15 characters. He said: "I'll agree that we all think we know this incredible tale, but, come on and put your hands up – who can actually admit that they've read every page of it, the whole novel from cover to cover? Very few, I suspect." James, however, has consumed Bram Stoker's original 1897 gothic masterpiece, most of which was written in Whitby, from first page to last. The 61year-old actor is now taking his one-man show around the UK. He added: "Strangely, the story resonated with me, even as a youngster, and I must have been all of 11 years old or so when I saw it on TV in one of the movie versions which starred Christopher Lee. All blood and fangs and gore, and hiding behind the sofa. It scared the very devil out of me! But, as I grew older, I realised that one got the real scares, the frisson of the hair standing up on the back of the neck, not from the poor woman screaming fit to bust at Mr Lee, but from what the audiences didn't see in horror films. The classic example is the shower scene in 'Psycho' which is far more frightening because we don't get the image of the knife going in – that's a perfect example. It's all left to the imagination, which is far better."



James quickly realised that "if I was going to bring everything on the page to the theatre, we'd all be sitting indoors for about 15 hours. I had to go for another angle, and to do quite a lot of filleting on the original text. I had to have a very different 'take' on it. It was a case of reading it over and over again, and to decide what worked to deliver a sense of ominous presence". The other main decision was how the story would be told. "If it was going to be done conventionally, then I'd have to get together a cast of a dozen or more, all of them playing multiple roles. Let's face it, was that going to happen after lockdown was lifted? The theatre being in the state that it is these days, slowly getting back to life again, and with strict budgeting, the answer was obviously going to be 'no'." So, James, whose career has included TV appearances from 'Bad Girls' to 'Hollyoaks' and stage shows such as 'Billy Elliott' and 'Mamma Mia!', took the big decision to play all 15 parts himself. The result, he believes, is a "very seductive thriller".



James, who has visited Whitby, both as a youngster and also recently to get a 'feel' for the town, said Stoker's legacy was "phenomenal". He said: "The book has never ever been out of print, and was featured in a stage play within months of publication – it was a huge hit with Victorian audiences. There is now at least one seven-day Dracula tour in Romania, and nearer to home, a regular and much-loved evening walking tour of Whitby. The first recorded film of the story was 'Dracula's Death', a silent version of 1921 (though there were probably others before that) which is now lost, and the latest is 2022's 'Hotel Transylvania: Transformania'. There are hundreds of others in between. It's something that audiences really love to get their teeth into", he adds apologetically.



What James has done, with the aid of his wife Deborah and daughter Cate, is to "re-imagine" the story, and to give it a new perspective. "I really do get so annoyed with the schlock versions of it", he admits, "just as I get really uncomfortable with those horror movies that are so predictable that as soon as you see the characters involved, you know with a certainty who is going to get attacked or terminated before the first twenty minutes is out. Why do their phones never get a signal? Why do they always run up to the attic, or down to the cellar, instead of straight out the front door? For me, it's the suspense that makes the drama, the unknown around the corner. And I hope that everyone will find that I have been true to that intent."

Tickets for Dracula, priced £21, are available from the Lichfield Garrick Box Office on 01543 412121 or by visiting www.lichfieldgarrick.com

#performing_arts
#interviews
#Drama
#books_writing
#theatre
#february
!date 20/02/2022 -- 20/02/2022
%wnbirmingham
70607 - 2023-01-26 01:48:06

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