You just can't keep a vampire down — well, not without a wooden stake. Orlando Shakespeare Theater will revive "Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker" for a monthlong run through the Halloween season.
The one-man play comes at Bram Stoker's vampire legend from a different point of view: That of one of the Transylvanian count's guests, young lawyer Jonathan Harker. Actor John Keller, who appeared in "Sense and Sensibility" and "Othello" for the Shakes last season, stars. Michael Carleton will direct.
Keller has experience in nervousness giving way to terror: He played Harker before, in a different version of the Dracula tale for Alabama Shakespeare Theater.
Shakespeare Theater artistic director Jim Helsinger is excited to revive the show.
"It's the perfect show to do around Halloween — thrills, chills and great literature all in one shot," he says. The play also has sentimental and historic significance to the Shakespeare Theater.
Helsinger adapted the play from Stoker's 1896 novel. The original Shakes production, in the fall of 1995, marked the first time the troupe performed a non-Shakespeare work. It was also the beginning of expanding the spring season of what was then called the Orlando Shakespeare Festival into a year-round enterprise.
"'Dracula' was the first show I did as artistic director here in 1995," Helsinger says, "and I am delighted to bring it back for our 25th-anniversary season."
In the show, Stoker's original text of journal entries, letters and newspaper clippings is augmented by sound and lighting effects. The thrills and chills will be (uncomfortably?) close to the audience as the play will be staged in the Lowndes Shakespeare Center's intimate Goldman Theater.
"Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker" opens Friday, Oct. 11, and runs through Nov. 10. Showtimes are 2 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays.
Tickets are $17-$40. Go to orlandoshakes.org or call 407-447-1700.