Nosferatu, A Symphony in Terror
Based on the Films by F.W. Murnau
Adapted for the stage by William A. Reilly and Lisaun Whittingham
I was a bit skeptical of going to see a stage production of the classic film Nosferatu, I am a big fan of the original movie, but the minute I set foot in the theatre my concerns were firmly assuaged.
Classical music filled the air, and it was perfectly fitting for the piece, helping to create an atmosphere of anticipation and eery calm…
Rather than just a passive audience member, I felt included in the experience immediately and once the play began I felt just as much a part of the story.
This really is a lovingly recreated version of the original movie, along with subtitles projected on the top of the stage, and the actors in makeup as if they were part of the original cast, with the unmistakable brown, white, grey and black contours required for black and white photography of that era.
Every scene was transformative and co cleverly recreated onstage, from the train rides across the continent to the taverns, the castle and the towns, each setting was poignantly presented on the stage. Much of the original film footage from the film was projected on a screen behind the action, which put the audience so firmly in place throughout the play, it’s as if we had stepped back in time together.
The soundtrack of the film is a wonderful blend of original score and classical music of the era, and the actors perform with such specificity and grace, the whole play is a balletic interpretation of this terrible and heartbreaking tale.
Speaking of balletic, the two leads, Ellen and Thomas are played by Alina Bolshakova and Michael Marchak, both quite wonderful and incredibly skilled dancers and a thrill to watch in such an intimate and dramatic setting.
If you are not aware of the story, we follow Ellen and Thomas’s story as they fall in love and marry in a small town in Bavaria. Thomas is hired by a mysterious businessman, Count Orlok, to help settle his affairs in Transylvania and prepare for his relocation to the town where Ellen and Thomas live. But in order to complete this task Thomas must travel to Transylvania to the Counts castle. Once there Thomas is kept prisoner and put under a spell preventing him from leaving, and The Count makes his way by boat to their town, leaving death and devastation in his wake.
Thomas manages to escape and is nursed back to health my local nuns, and as soon as he can he travels back to his home to prevent The Count from completing what he now knows as his dastardly plan…
Because this was a silent film, there is no dialogue at all in the play, any communication between the characters is made with the use of subtitles and the capable talents of the actors, which strangely made me feel more focused and added to the enchantment and compelling nature of the piece.
Of course, none of this magic would work at all unless the actors themselves were not able and fully committed to the play…and they are…in fact they are all quite brilliant.
This is the kind of play where you have to leave your sense of reason and doubt at the door, and I promise you won’t be disappointed if you do.
It’s the perfect time of year for a little horror and death, and this play is such a unique and unusual way to spend your evening and indulge in your darker side!
I recommend Nosferatu and the Crown City Theatre, 11031 Camarillo St., North Hollywood, 91602
Extended through November 13, so get your tickets fast!
Friday & Saturday, 8PM and Sunday at 7PM
Alina Bolshakova – Ellen Hutter
Michael Marchak – Thomas Hutter
Michelle Holmes – Count Orlok
BEHIND THE SCENES:
Director – Bill Reilly
Choreographer – Lisaun Whittingham
Costume Design – Tanya Apuya
Lighting Design – Zad Potter
Sound Design – Joe Shea
Projection Video – Daniel Donado, Chris Thume
Production Manager – Zad Potter
House Manager – Michael Pammit
House Tech – Zad Potter
Producers – Crown City Theatre Company
Artistic Directors for Crown City – Gary Lamb and Bill Reilly
Written by Javier Ronceros