Because this play was constructed with a specific film noir style in mind, it is important to attempt its performance honestly and embrace noir’s conventions, rather than spoofing them. This is a delicate balance which means that directors, designers, and performers should familiarize themselves with the idiosyncratic speech patterns, physical demeanor, and rhythms inherent in classic films such as:

The Big Sleep

The Maltese Falcon

Double Indemnity

Sunset Boulevard

These movies served as direct sources of influence on the style of the dialogue and physicality during the original production process, and I recommend that theatre groups who choose to perform Dracula: The Case of the Silver Scream should refer to them liberally for inspiration.

Similarly, Van Helsing’s asides to the audience are intended to serve the same purpose as traditional voiceovers did in the detective films of the 1940s. Typically, the other characters onstage should freeze when these moments occur, returning to normal speed when Van Helsing returns to the action of the scene.

If you are able to employ a larger cast than that used in the original production, please feel free to populate the stage during the Sanitarium scenes with as many patients and orderlies as you desire. Also, the party scene can have as few or as many guests as you wish.

Robert L. Neblett and David Grapes

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