The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV Theatre spotlights feminism in revamped “Dracula”

Courtesy/ Erika Lberg

Grand Valley State University’s theatre production, “Dracula: A Feminist Revenge Fantasy, Really,” opened Oct. 27. The play spotlights female leads overthrowing stereotypes and patriarchal themes. 

GVSU’s theatre program chose the unique adaptation of “Dracula” for its positive take on modern feminism and the prominent roles that women play. The feminist revamping was written by Katie Hamil with the intent of confronting the sexism in Bram Stoker’s literary classic the original tale of “Dracula” written in 1897.  

Demetria Thomas, the production’s director, said she wants the audience to watch the performance with an open mind and enjoy the twist on the classic story. In the adaptation, traditionally male characters are portrayed as females with power and intellect.  

“(In the play) Dracula comes to England to find new victims,” Thomas said. “The men aren’t powerful enough to stop him.”  

The original story of “Dracula” portrays women as victims and side characters. Thomas hopes that this adaptation of “Dracula” gives women a voice and control, even in the face of horror and tragedy. 

“There’s a structure inside literature that makes women victims and does not allow them to have their own agency (and) their own power to be able to protect themselves,” Thomas said. “This adaptation of that story puts the (responsibility) for destroying Dracula into the hands of women.”  

Despite the production’s title, Thomas believes anyone could enjoy the performance.

“You don’t have to be a feminist in order to see that when women are empowered, problems have a greater chance of being solved,” Thomas said. 

Riley Begeman portrays Dracula in the production. Begeman said it is fun to play a “scary” villain on stage and feels that being a part of this production draws attention to wider societal issues.

“The heart of the show is women,” Begeman said. “(The script) follows how (women) are impacted by sexism, misogyny and the patriarchy.”

The performance presents an overall theme of female empowerment– a message that both Begeman and Thomas want the audience to hear. 

“Female empowerment is something that we as a society should be more focused on, especially empowering women in marginalized groups,” Begeman said. 

Thomas said it is important to depict powerful women through theatre in order to engage audiences in discussions beyond the performance.

“I think it’s a really interesting conversation,” Thomas said. “It’s a great way to look at how powerful women actually are, and how susceptible even men are to faulty promises.”

Thomas and Begeman both said everyone involved in the theatre program has been incredible and supportive during the production. Overall, they are proud of the work they have put into the performance. 

“I think (this performance) has set a high bar for us going forward,” Thomas said.

There are two performances remaining of the production on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 in the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts. Tickets can be purchased on GVSU theatre’s website

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