Scorpius Dance Theatre's A Vampire Tale Keeps the Cult in "Cult Classic"

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See also:5 Must-See Dance Performances in Metro Phoenix This Fall

Needless to say, the BF was not thrilled about the prospect of a Vampire. Dance. Play. And I won't lie to you: I wasn't sold on the idea either. I found myself bargaining; halfway trying to convince myself it would be great, and halfway trying to sell him on it. "It's a cult classic," I said, "It's 'the Nutcracker of Halloween.' It will be fun!" My eyelash-batting prevailed over the baseball-batting. My possession of the boobs might have helped as well.

There's this thing about cult classics, this little thing that makes them "cult classics" rather than just "classics." This thing is that generally speaking, they're not actually all that good, but there's something about them that makes you love them anyway. Take, for example, Rocky Horror Picture Show. Nobody watches it because it's a good movie. It's a fun movie. It's a weird movie. But when it comes to the nitty-gritty of plot and acting and character development, it actually kind of sucks. But that doesn't stop people (read as: stoners, misfits, and angsty teenagers) from coming back to it year after year, because it's fun and escapist and a great accompaniment to alcohol.

The same could easily be said of A Vampire Tale. After seeing it, it's easy to understand how director and choreographer Lisa Starry has maintained the show's momentum for so many years. The plot is about as hazy as the smoke machine and strobe light combo that pulses throughout the show. The dancing is great, but the characterization in most of the ensemble is only so-so. In many ways the whole thing is a little bit overdone; but all that said, I absolutely loved it. And so did grumpy ol' Mr. Baseballpants, which should probably be viewed as a stellar endorsement.

As a general rule, I am an introvert. I despise things like "audience participation" and "loud noises" and "being around most other human beings." I also was pretty sure we got over the whole vampire thing circa 2010, but apparently our cultural obsession with the undead just won't, you know, die. A warning to my fellow introverts: This show will be smoky and loud and you will be asked to participate. Just do it. It won't suck that much.

The pre-show consisted of a bit of clowning, crowd-pestering, and candy-tossing by special guest artist Damon Dering. Dering's character functioned as both comic relief and narrator, and can best be described as a cross between The Joker and Lennie from Of Mice and Men. The so-called "Strange Man" also acted as the ringleader of a vampire circus. At first I wasn't sure how to feel about him, but after intermission (read as: after introducing a lil' booze into the ol' bloodstream), the Strange Man's clowning and silly antics actually started to grow on me.

The show opens to a circus of vampires; first the women, corset-clad and gyrating against the ground, a series of coffins, the floor, each other. I was not impressed by this introduction. The female ensemble's expressions and characterization were a little more slutty cheerleader than creepy blood-sucking undead creature, though I guess the difference between those two character archetypes is fairly negligible.

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Zaida Dedolph
Contact: Zaida Dedolph