Episode #1: A Brief History
By The Dracu-Lady
With the opening of Dracula on Main Street Stage right around the corner, I thought we could look back at a brief history of Bram Stoker, author of the novel “Dracula.”
Just in case you do not know the story, here is a one sentence synopsis: Dracula follows real estate broker Jonathan Harker as he tries to help a Transylvanian Count, *spoiler alert: it’s Dracula*, with a real estate deal while Harker’s fiancé, Mina Murray, spends time in London with her best friend Lucy Westenra, who is very popular not only with her new fiancé, Arthur Holmwood, but two other suitors, Quincey Morris, and Dr. John Seward the latter of which works at the local mental asylum with patient Renfield who is a loyal servant of Count Dracula who is in turn pursued by Dr. Seward’s former teacher Van Helsing.
Try saying that with only one breath; it’s not easy. With that out of the way, we can continue to the interesting part of the article which is, of course, a look back at the life of Bram Stoker.
Born in 1847 in Dublin, Ireland, young Abraham ‘Bram’ Stoker was sickly and bedridden most of his childhood until he made a full recovery at the age of seven. He went on to a successful scholastic and athletic career (didn’t see that one coming did you?) and graduated with a degree in mathematics from Trinity College, Dublin in 1870. Shortly thereafter he began as a theater critic for the Dublin Evening Mail.
It was during his time at the Mail that he attended and wrote a quite favorable review of a production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet starring Henry Irving in the title role. The actor invited the critic to dinner shortly thereafter which led to a long and fruitful friendship during which Stoker acted as the business manager for Irving’s theater. He held this position for almost thirty years. In 1879 he married Florence Balcombe and they welcomed their son Irving Noel Thornley Stoker a year later. Fun Fact:Mrs. Stoker’s first suitor was another famous writer by the name of Oscar Wilde.
During his tenure at the Lyceum, Stoker wrote many stories including his second, and by far his most popular novel, Dracula. The epic, gothic-horror novel is made entirely out of letters, diary entries, telegrams, and newspaper clippings which pulled from his extensive experience in the newspaper industry. His other works include, but are not limited to, The Snake’s Pass, The Lady of the Shroud, and The Lair of the White Worm.
As with all good things, Mr. Stoker came to an end in April of 1912. He was cremated and his ashes rest in London alongside those of his son.
Well that’s all for now. Be sure to keep an eye out for the next installment of the Creepy Corner where we look at past iterations and famous incarnations of Dracula from Nosferatu to ‘New Age;’ Langella to Lee; Bella to Butler (I know that last one was a stretch, just go with it). Scare ya later! - - -The Dracu-Lady
A little bit about The Dracu-Lady: The Dracu-Lady's secret identity is Emily Anderson (Shhh, don't tell anyone!). She is a recent addition to the Lyric Arts family working in the box office and as house manager. She just graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point with a degree in Arts Management, but grew up in the Twin Cities and has spent many an evening at Lyric Arts Main Stage with her mother, sister, and grandmother. Her favorite color is red; her favorite food is macaroni and cheese and chocolate (but not together, cause that would be gross) and when she grows up she wants to be Batman.