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Theatre / Dracula (1924)

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Hamilton Deane's stage adaptation of Dracula was the first authorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel. It was first performed in Derby, England in 1924, starring Edmund Blake in the title role and Deane as Professor Van Helsing, before moving to London three years later with Raymond Huntley taking over as the Count.

Deane's script was significantly revised by John L. Balderston before the play crossed the Atlantic in 1927, and this revised version has been the basis for most subsequent stage productions. The 1927 Broadway production starred Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula and Edward Van Sloan as Professor Van Helsing. It was a major influence on the Universal film version made three years later, in which Lugosi and Van Sloan reprised their roles. Many of the Classical Movie Vampire tropes codified by the 1931 film had originated in the stage play (Dracula's black cape with its High Collar of Doom, for instance, was designed as part of a disappearing effect).

The 1977 Broadway revival, starring Frank Langella and featuring very memorable sets by Edward Gorey, was the basis of the 1979 film version.

Aside from Lugosi and Langella, later productions have seen the Count be played by Raúl Juliá, Jeremy Brett, and Terence Stamp.

This play contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change: In the 1927 revised version, the play's Mina Weston is the equivalent of the novel's Lucy Westenra, while the play's Lucy Seward is the equivalent of the novel's Mina Murray, and Jonathan Harker's first name becomes John. (In the original 1924 version, they all have their original names).
  • Adapted Out:
    • In the revised version Lucy's entire subplot in the novel is cut, except for her being killed by Dracula, revived as a vampire, and killed again by Van Helsing, all of which happens off-stage and is related second-hand, so Lucy/Mina never appears in person. Two of her suitors, Quincey and Arthur, are dropped entirely, while Dr Seward becomes Mina/Lucy's father instead.
    • Many of the novel's minor characters are left out entirely.
  • Breaking and Bloodsucking: Dracula enters Lucy's bedroom after it gets de-garliced by the maid under Dracula's influence.
  • Classical Movie Vampire
  • Compressed Adaptation: The action of the play begins after Dracula has already arrived in England, killed Lucy (Mina in the play) and turned his attentions to Mina (Lucy in the play). The final confrontation occurs in his house in England, dropping the final section of the novel in which Dracula escapes back to Transylvania.
  • Gender Flip: In the original 1924 production, Quincey Morris was portrayed as female.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: To better match the actors available in Deane's company, Quincey Morris was made a woman for the 1924 production.