Tonight we are above ground and seen in the light.
You are not in your own domain. You are in
ours and whatever may befall you is of
your own choice.
Original cast of Let Us Prey (top row: Steve Lynch, Karie Ehrlich, Esther
Weerd. Mark Lang, Tina Wu, Dianne Acciavati, Dawn Marchan, Shaunte. Jericho
De'Angelo, Roslyn Bottom row: Rick Crane, Lauren Bailey, Tony Sokol, Adam
Barnick, Troy Acree, Marcia Canestrano and Sophia Valaikas
Welcome to the darkest ring on the web. Here one can find all
the ongoings of the Vampyr Theatre, run by Tony Sokol.
"Vampyr Theatre scripts are available for performance, please call 212-726-1821 or send me email@example.com
DAILY NEWS, FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 1994 MUSTO GUSTO
`Let Us Prey': Drop Over to Vampyr's for a Bite by Michael Musto
You get the feeling it's not going to be just another night at "Cats"
the second you walk into the dank, ramshackle theater where the vampire
drama "Let Us Prey" is playing -- and hear a gravelly voice ritualistically
croaking on tape, "We're all gonna be just dirt in the ground." Charming.
You glance warily at the program, "Tonight we are above ground and seen
in the light. You are not in your own domain. You are in ours and whatever
may befall you is of your own choice. You have been warned." REALLY charming.
You think of bolting for the door but there's a funky, buck-toothed character
named Count Grau Orlock onstage, begging for your blood products, and it
would be rather impolite not to stay. "I always like to start the very
serious business of a ritual with a meal," intones the Count, a really
delightful guy. "Who has the first offering?" He looks thirstily out at
the audience and as his beady eyes hit yours, you hope he'll settle for
some dirty fingernails or lint. Mercifully, he chooses to feast from various
willing zombies -- the cast, you pray -- who emerge from the folding chairs
shrouded in black, bursting with plasma and ready to party. The no-account
count gets to work pulling out an accountant's eyes and a hunchback's heart,
also seizing on a lovely severed hand procured for him by a vampy vampire
assistant ("I was going to steal the whole body," she explains, "but I
thought it would be difficult to get it through customs.") They toss all
those goodies into a big bowl, adding everything but garlic for seasoning
-- natch -- and the count beams, "Now, THIS is a strew." LORENA BOBBIT
would be proud. As the sated cast exits down the aisle dripping in red
goo, you stumble out to perversely grab an after-theater snack. Every bit
as weird as it sounds, "Prey" -- written by horror/comedy scribe TONY SOKOL
for the troupe La Commedia Del Sangue -- presents its eerie rituals with
conviction, unabashedly lacing the vampires' ruthless survival tactics
with more of a raw sexuality than the misty romanticism they're usually
diluted by. The performance is short -- it runs less than an hour -- but
with its toothsome mix of horror and black comedy, it hardly lacks for
bite. I'm just glad the stew doesn't call for the knees of a figure skater.
(At Vampyr Theater, 54 W. 22nd St., tonight at 10, tomorrow at 8 &
10, call 212-726-1821)
Tracy Dillon and Troy Acree
THE NEW YORK TIMES, SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 26,1993
Cousin Barnabas, Meet Your Peers
This is why you live in New York, it may be the only place in America with a theater company dedicated to plays about vampires. The Vampyr Theater, currently in its second year at the Creative Place theater on Eight Avenue, grew out of Tony Sokol's life-long fascination with vampires. New `plasma-pleasing works' are always in production. For his latest play, "More Than You Can Chew," Mr. Sokol said he interviewed 250 `self-proclaimed local vampires' who responded to ads he placed in free Manhattan newspapers. Mr. Sokol said he was surprised to find how much local fodder there was for a vampire narrative. He said he "got to know the vampires' stories, their hopes, their dreams and their plans for the future ... which never ends." "I got some real crazy people," he said. "One guy claimed he wanted to drink the blood of his son's playmate. I told him to seek some help." Mr. Sokol, who has also been an editor of vampire poetry, said he was sometimes frightened during the interviews. "Some people I talked to made me very tired." The vampires said they were sucking out his energy, but he admitted his lethargy might have had more to do with the fact that he interviewed them at 3 in the morning. When else are vampires available?
Photo by Naum Kazhdan
NEW YORK POST ENTERTAINMENT WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 1993
READ ALL ABOUT IT Section
It'll be a rare theatrical experience. by Barbara Lippman Bloodthirsty
theater goers with a taste for the supernatural will have something to
sink their teeth into when "La Commedia del Sangue: The Vampyr Theater"
performs tomorrow, Friday and Saturday at the Creative Place Theater on
Eighth Avenue. The 2-year-old company, founded by playwright Tony Sokol,
will perform segments titled "Blood Is Thicker than Water," "The Auction,"
"One of Us" and others. Tickets for the shows, which begin at 10:30, are
$10 ($9 for anyone dressed like a vampire. Performances will also take
place on Sept. 9, 10. and 11. The Theater is at 750 Eight Ave., between
46th and 47th streets.
From The Vampire Book, The Encyclopedia of the Undead By J. Gordon Melton
Vampire Theater: The Gothic movement that developed in the United
States in the late 1070s has had a noticeable influence upon vampire drama.
The movement itself was very dramatic, built as it was around bands who
used theatrical effects as an integral part of their performance. Possibly
the principle examples were those choreographed by Vlad, the Chicago rock
musician who heads the band The Dark Theatre. More recently La Commedia
del Sangria was created in 1992 by Tony Sokal as a dramatic company that
performs "vampire theatre," and includes a strong element of audience interaction.
The company's very metaphysical production examines questions of the vampiric
condition (limited immortality) and the existence of God. Some of the actors
begin the performance portraying audience members an then enter the sage
as an apparent interruption. The production has received a warm response
from people in the vampire subculture who regularly attend to cheer on
each time they bite someone.
From Delirium Magazine:
Just Us Served
Opened September 26th through November
Written by Tony Sokol
Directed by Troy Acree
When it comes to a live vampyre theatre performance,
writer Tony Sokol always surprises and pleases his audience. This particular
performance Just Us Served showcases one of the many dark talents embedded
in Sokol's soul (that is if he even has one.) Just Us Served takes twists
and turns from socio-political stances to the icons of popular culture
today. Even the vampyres poke fun at one another, an FBI agent is harassed
and threatened by the vampyres, and a role-player named Dominic, is toyed
with until his death. Here you have it all-bloodsuckers, wannabe bloodsuckers,
political bloodsuckers to other kinks.
The alluring Count Orlock played by Troy Acree is at once magnetic. Orlock's take on society through a vampyre's eyes is full of sarcasm and brimming in his tone on such subjects humans spend way too much time dwelling on. All Orlock cares for is the survival of his kind and refers to the outside world as cyber-psychotic and he's right, right? Religion has no value to him and he tells the lord to kiss his ass and Satan to suck his cock and further goes on to say, if anything needs to be hailed be it him or hail a cab! This sort of tone flows throughout the performance and each of the other cast like Vena Cava, Igor Mortis and Drew Blood, especially take this sarcasm to a new level unparalleled to any I've heard before. These vampyres are unlike your wildest dreams and their words concoct venom turned to absinthe in just seconds. You never know what to expect or where to turn so you just pay attention and cringe when the character of the federal agent Schrader opens his mouth.
The ancient vampyre Zianubi suffers from
peek-a-boo Alzheimer's and other ailments and tells Schrader to lick his
bleeding hemorrhoids. Zianubi's character holds up to par with Orlock's
outstanding control onstage. His agility is felt throughout the play. Orlock
speaks to the audience and threatens all when need be. "We'll kill you
if you try to leave. Be patient. You'll all get what I want. And I want
your blood bleeding from your every pore, oozing from your eyeballs and
the small of your back, spilling into my mouth until you no longer draw
breath and have to lie down forever." Orlock says, "I want you screaming
for mercy, tearing your hair out, trying to take your own lives quickly
and mercifully before I get the chance to do it tortuously and hmmm deliciously
slow." He tells Schrader, "…I scare myself. Each of you in this room will
die. One by one. Unless you denounce what you are and join us…"
He's not a warmhearted kind of fellow, know what I mean? And why should he be? He's a goddamned vampyre for Christ sake. The role of Schrader is acted out as expected-by an idiot of sorts suckered into federal pinings without an inkling of a conspiracy theory set against him by the vampyres at Orlock's court. He's judged by vampyres and no one gets out of this one…right?
Sucker Born, Drew Blood and the others make fun of the role-player Dominic. They ask him if role players are allowed to drink each other's blood, if others are hurt, murdered. Dominic says they do neither of the former save for assume the role of vampyres by acting and storytelling. The vampyres call the role playing lame, weak, bullshit. Orlock then hands Dominic a glass of his blood and Vena Cava hands him his storyteller mask then Orlock says "…I'll tell you a story about a real vampyre. A vampyre that has had to kill and hide and pillage for centuries. Not some pretend wannabe asshole, but someone who gets his hands dirty. Someone who is not afraid to let the world see his face. Why? Because he has nothing to hide? No. Because he doesn't care who knows what he's hiding. Now I hide in the ears of those who fear to listen. But I don't need a mask." He then hammers the mask into Dominic's head and dies. "I am your reality," states Orlock. "I am your dream. I am a vampyre and I am bored of your stories." A good death and a well deserved one at that!
As the case of Schrader continues to develop, it is evident the vampyres are toying with him and playing mind games in the court Orlock himself set up. Schrader tells all, "How can you let him (Orlock) be like this? Don't you know what this man does? He's killed 16 people this month. And it's not even that, it's the way he does it. He rips out their throats. He drinks their blood. He's a psychopath… He's a fucking homicidal megalomaniac." Schrader has no way out of this no matter what testimony he offers or whatever evidence he presents against Orlock.
An interesting dialogue erupts between Zianubi and Orlock, which displays Zianubi's displeasure in Orlock's behavior, and as the case continues; a banging is heard saying it's the NYPD. The audience are the hostages the cops are referring to. As the knocking continues, Vena Cava and Orlock talk to Schrader about his killer instincts and training that is very similar to those of the vampyres. Drew Blood shoots at the exit door and shouting erupts. Orlock tells Schrader, "You always knew about us, didn't you?"
Schrader responds, "We have to keep you down…
You pose a threat to national security, like all damned terrorists. I'm
here because it's my job to get rid of you and all like you before you
start to infect people…" Orlock goes to Igor Mortis and walks into a cloak,
spins and he disappears. The cloak falls empty to the floor.
The cops keep knocking and thrust in after Drew Blood shoots through the door. The two cops turn out to be Igor Mortis and Orlock. Orlock's final words to the audience are, "Ladies and gentlemen, when you leave here tonight, know, that although you may not see it in evidence on your TV sets or in your newspapers, that we are now in control. (Igor nails Schrader's hands to the crucifix and dies.) It is accomplished. The puppet government that you elect periodically dances on strings that we hold. You will see evidence in your day to day lives, evidence that you may wish to share with people around you. But they won't want to hear it. They love their vampyre masters. So when your friend's start disappearing and come back looking pale and sick, know that it is just your government at work. Think of it like a new tax. But we will restore one thing that you're government took away from you…"
The rest has to be left for your imagination. An exemplary performance by the entire cast and the words of delight and profound blasphemy and perverseness are the responsibility and courtesy of Tony Sokol. A true gem and a cursed one at that. If you hear and/or read that Tony Sokol has a performance scheduled in NYC city, I urge you to catch a showing or two...You will not be disappointed.
INK 19, OCT. 95 By Leslie R. Marini
The Vampyr Theatre is located (quite naturally) in a subterranean
section of New York's Greenwich Village area. Outside, a red and black
banner announces the performance time and the entire trip into Vampyr Theatre
is heavily permeated with a medieval gypsy circus atmosphere. Creator/playwright/journalist/musician
Tony Sokol, a Brooklyn native, is the flesh and blood force behind The
Vampyr Theatre, which is officially titled "La Commedia Del Sangue." The
Commedia itself has its roots in traveling acting troupes from the Renaissance,
and modern day '60s guerrilla street theatre. Sokol spent four years researching
self-proclaimed vampires for La Commedia, and the various scripts and dramas
the Sokol has presented to an above-ground audience of mortals are riddled
with a dry, subtle, undead wit. The Vampyr Theatre begins with a power
confrontation between he ideals of law and chaos, ignorance and wisdom.
In the spirit of maintaining balance, the head vampire, Count Grau Orlock
(played by director Troy Acree) rises from the makeshift coffin and grants
favors to those mortals who seem bent on self-destruction. Without the
usual silly overdramatizing that so many of his type like to bask in. The
venue owner and the policeman, the married woman and her blissfully dull
husband, the woman who seeks revenge for the sake of revenge, and of course
the seductive bitch; all are played out with a vampire's twist of manipulation
into human affairs simply for the sake of humor; otherwise what other functions
would we serve other than a food source? The pace of the theatre is enjoyable,
and the entire very-thin-shoestring production of this performance art
is used to full advantage by the production company. Audience participation,
while a little uptight, is not discouraged, and of course what Vampyr Theatre
would be complete without a Greek chorus of exotic undead femme fatales?
Throughout Orlock's indulgences in human failure and denial, the trio of
Gothic beauties comment via snarl, whisper, dance and dare. A notable performance
at the beginning of The Vampyr Theatre is from traveling magician, Algebra
Cadaver, alias Tony Scarpa. With a razor blade- eating effect, complete
with background calliope, as the `opening act' for La Commedia Del Sangue,
Scarpa set the mood for illusion and danger and left at least this reporter
in a semi-queasy mood. Tony, who in his spare time often cruises the Internet
in search of vampires, has performed on Norwegian Cruise Lines Discover
Cruises and throughout Miami, Florida. He escaped from 100 pounds of chains
underwater for the grand opening of a health club, and is an annual performer
at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J. Tony will attempt to make it
rain, and should you ever wander into a situation where you encounter a
Tony Scarpa appearance ... by all means he is well worth the price of admission.
The rest of the performers all can boast of excellent credentials, such
as Shaunte Shayde, who has appeared in Type O Negative's "Black No. 1"
video and Skid Row's "Psycho Love" video. She has also appeared as "The
"Urban Angel" in comic books. The Vampyr Theatre is actually a series of
scripts written and executed by Sokol, none of which are directly related
to the other. The particularly script I am reviewing here is officially
called "Dances From A Shallow Grave" and it stands as a secret, hidden
look into life at the end of the millennium. When we as mortals turn to
dust and ashes, when the sun burns out, only the immortals and blood drinkers
will be left to tall our tale. Tony Sokol invites comments and questions
regarding Vampyr Theatre and is currently researching multiple personality
disorders and cults. To contact him, you may write him in care of The Vampyr
Theatre, P.O. Box 6012, South Hackensack, NJ 07606. The Vampyr Theatre
runs through December 18th, Fridays and Saturdays at Midnight at Nada,
located at 167 Ludlow St. You may leave Tony a message at 212-726-1821,
and if you are a vampire, he would like to hear from you.
From Delirium Magazine: 1999
Vampire Archives, Issue #35, Page 2 By Jule Ghoul.
La Commedia del Sangue: The Vampyre Theatre. Tony Sokol is the creator of this alluring, gothicy atmospheric, exotic, erotic eerie production that plays throughout New York. We'd first heard about it on Halloween, '93 on The Joan Rivers Show vampire special. We'd finally gotten around to calling the number Tony had provided. Naturally we got a recording that gave further information on the play. The next night, Tony returned our call and we had such a nice time. He took us up on our offer of the night before to call him right back, it being long-distance. Price of admittance just went up from a low $10 to a still low $13. The play last about 45 minutes at clubs, and about 1 hour and 20 minutes in a theater. He's interviewed over 300 vampires, since his quote of 250 on The Joan Rivers Show. Interviews supply him with ideas for the next script. As being a musician, he `Feels the rhythm' coming from that person as they related their story. They would really love to use some of this music in his plays, but his actors feel it would interfere with their concentration, Although we haven't, unfortunately, seen the play, we would think that music would enhance it. If you'd like to read a little more about the play, Loretta M. Accardo gives her review in the "Midnight Snacks" section under "Performance": in Nox, Fall 1993, Volume 1, Number 2, PO Box 2467, Grand Central Station, New York, N.Y. 10163-2467. Send SASE for latest price quote and availability. Not only has Loretta Seen The Vampyr Play several times, Tony told us he'd used her name in one of the shows. And, Loretta told us in a letter a few months ago that she was in the audience on The Joan Rivers Show. Tony provided yet another number to call, which appears in FANGORIA: The Vampire Hot-Line 212- 330-9275. (We have yet to get a response to our message). If you'd like B&W photo print(s) of The Vampire Play, it's $7 each, or $2 each for a laser print (We will have a review of the aforementioned issue of Nox, later in this issue.)
NOX, Fall 93 By Loretta M. Accardo
La Commedia del Sangue is an innovative group of theaters that perform vampire theatre. The shows that I've seen took place in a small, intimate setting that enables the cast to interact with the audience, As a result, you're not quite sure who among the audience is an actor or even if the person sitting next to you is an actual vampire! I was told by writer/creator Tony Sokol that an average of three self-proclaimed vampires is in attendance at each show. Tony gets his information from the questionnaires that are handed out at each performance. He also spent two years doing research and interviewing vampires before the group began rehearsals in April 1992. They had their first performance in May of that year. The question of whether immortality is all it's cracked up to be is brought up during the show. One vampire laments over no longer being able to see the sun and says that over the years it can become very lonely. Despite the drawbacks, one mortal climbs out of the audience and says she wishes to become a vampire. Initially, she cannot bring herself to bite a vampire who has offered to change her. However, she eventually succumbs, Another vampire, who was well-liked by his peers has been killed (offstage) and the search for his murderer is one of the plots. Without giving too much away, there is plenty of onstage bloodletting to satisfy those vampires that might be present. The debate over the existence of God is also brought up. Since vampires have power over life and death, doesn't that make them gods as well? The audience actually cheered the vampires and seemed genuinely excited as they were about to bite their victims. I found that I was laughing and cheering right along with them. The vampires, not the mortals, are the heroes here. The show has many different moods ranging from humor, to passion, to outright horror. It's an evening well spent for mortals and vampires alike. If you're ever in the New York City area, La Commedia del Sangue is well worth checking out. Don't miss it! NOTE: As of this writing, the group is performing a new script. I haven't seen this new production yet, but I'll be sure to review it next time.
New York Newsday, Friday, September 3, 1993
CHOICES: What's Hot Around Town Vampyr Theater
A new segment has been added to "La Commedia del Sangue: the Vampyr Theater's self described "dracu-drama.' This was weekend and next you can see "More than You Can Chew" at the Creative Place Theater, 750 Eighth Ave., at 46th Street. Shows are 10:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Tickets are $10, $9 if you come in costume.
Bay News, Jan. 3, 1994 Big Apple By Kenneth Brown
LET US PREY OPENS `Let Us Prey,' the recent segment in the on-going sanguine saga by Tony Sokol for La Commedia Del Sangue: The Vampyr Theatre Will open at Theatre 22, 54 West 22nd Street on Thursday through Saturday nights. Jan 6-8, 20-22 and 27-79. "Let Us Prey" is described by Sokol as the most graphic of his Gothic tales. In its unfolding of blood rituals and sacrifices, it is his most frightening and, certainly most physical work. It is directed by Troy Acree, who also interprets the central host role of Count Grau Orlock. Rick Crane has created the special effects and make-up. Sokol, who has interviewed self-proclaimed vampires as part of his research for the Vampyr Theatre, was recently a guest on the Joan Rivers television program with a panel of vampire experts and those who claim to be sustained "by blood alone." He is currently researching rituals and cult activities and multiple personality disorders for upcoming scripts and articles. A series of staged readings of spousal murder comedies is also contemplated.
NOX, Spring 94 By Loretta M. Accardo
This is an update of the review I did in the last issue. Despite cast and script changes over the past few months, La Commedia del Sangue: The Vampyr Theatre is still horrific, erotic, blasphemous and fascinating. The location has changed from a cabaret/bar to a small theater, but there remains an intimacy with the actors who are right there, up close, making eye contact with the audience. I have seen the show five times now, and I still experience chills of fright and pleasure each time I see it. Watching these performances will make you feel that succumbing to a force beyond your control is the most profound experience you can have -- whether you're a mortal being seduced by a powerful vampire or, a child of darkness who must give in to an unceasing hunger. If you're a vampire fan there is nothing I would recommend more than seeing this show. Watching live bloodletting cannot compare to reading about it or seeing it on film. The show comes at you and hits your hard like a freight train -- or maybe more like a stake through he heart! If you live in the New York area or plan on visiting, GO SEE THIS SHOW!
all 212-726-1821 for information and reservations. Be sure you mention
that you read about the show in Nox.
Daily News New York Live, Aug. 23 1992
Fangs for the Memories By Sheila Anne Fenney
After hours with the loopy elusive but ever growing local world of
vampirology. While forks and knives tinkle, carving up chicken and steak,
the "Vampires" -- indecipherable from many diners also attired in black
-- flick their tongues in and out like lizards, hissing and shrieking encouragement
to fellow player Mario Giacalone to finish off the unfortunate before him.
"Finish him," howls one. "Drink him," insists another. Giacalone slakes
his thirst on the neck of his new slave, pats his belly and burps, "I'm
afraid I made a pig of myself." Commedia del Sangue -- a troupe of actors
devoted to "vampire theater" -- is performing this night at the felicitously
titled Le Bar Bat on W. 57th St. Commedia del Sangue is only one manifestation
of the loopy elusive world of vampirology. Do vampires exist? Parapsychologist,
Stephen Kaplan, director of the Vampire Research Center in Queens, assures
that they do. He clams to have authenticated at least 25 city vampires,
most of them in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Tony Sokol, who writes the scripts
for Commedia del Sangue, says he has spent the last year placing ads seeking
people who purport to have the legacy of Count Dracula in their blood,
"I've yet to meet a real vampire, meaning a reanimated corpse," sighs Sokol,"
But I did talk to one person who claimed to be 317 years old." Self-identified
vampires usually turn out to be run-of-the-mill blood fetishists, says
Sokol, who drink blood when ... never mind. He insists at least five self-identified
vampires are in the audience watching his bloody skit, Alas he cannot provide
introductions. "I don't believe in outing." Kaplan runs a "vampire census,"
sending questionnaires both at random and on request to people who may
be among "The Undead." (He's still waiting for White House to Return his
questionnaire.) Kaplan promises client confidentiality. The dark shadowy
vampire underground is as mysterious and weird -- if not suspiciously ethereal
-- as the legendary Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's famous 1897 novel. While
everyone in the field claims to know vampires, no one will produce one.
Vampires are "a besmirched minority group," according to Kaplan. New York
bloodsuckers demand anonymity not because they're afraid people will come
after them with garlic and crosses -- impotent weapons against real vampires,
Kaplan sniffs indignantly -- but because, "If you go public and say you're
a vampire, your believability is near zero."
NEW YORK PERSPECTIVES, OCT. 30, 1992
Twice Bitten by Beth Fehrig
With a series of advertisements asking "Are you a vampire?" Playwright Tony Sokol admits he got a lot more than he bargained or while researching his new production. But in the end, he says, it gave him the material he needed to write La Commedia Del Sangue "interactive theater for real New York vampires." "The first week all I got was actors wanting to be in this play." says Sokol, whose ads ran for two years in the classifieds section of several weekly papers, thrust right into the past of every walking time bomb in New York. "And then I dropped all references to `playwright.' And that's when the fun began." "Most of the calls came at three in the morning," he admits. "I got offers from people to drink my blood, to be made into a vampire, lots and lots of sexual offers. I took no one up on any of these offers. Until this I had a very nice social life. ... I have a wife." Out of the 500 calls Sokol estimates he received, he says roughly 200 came from "People who believed they were vampires,": about 20 of whom gave him a real run for his money. Some claimed to be 70-year-olds trapped in the bodies of teenagers. Other claimed to be night creatures with psychic powers, living on high protein diets of blood and meat. None of them wore capes and fangs. "Some people claim their eyes change color, that they have elongation of teeth, faces actually became more angular." Sokol recalls, of a few who told him what happens when they don't "feed." "I interviewed someone a few weeks ago who claimed to be going through a period of hunger and she actually fled -- she said I wasn't `safe.' I'm not running a dating service nor a takeout service for vampires." At this point, it's too easy to write of tony Sokol as yet another casualty of a socially dysfunctional city -- especially when he launches into tales abut meeting people on dark corners at midnight, and trying to fall under their psychic spells. But as we move into the smoking section of a local coffee shop, where he can unwind after another sleepless night (something that goes with the territory these days), Sokol proves he's just another New York cynic with a sense of humor. "I thought there was a possibility that there's people out there who think they really are vampires," says the musician and former comedy writer. "I'm the ultimate cynic. But I'm also the person that absolutely loves movies and I love fantasy." Sokol insists it's a bad coincidence that his vampire repertory company debuted as three major movies about the subject were hitting the screen But while vampires may be stylish now almost 100 years after Dracula was written, in this real age of AIDS, it's probably not a good time to be one (a contradiction some suggest may have fueled the fashion). Although some of the people who spoke with Sokol say they're regularly getting tested for HIV, others -- like one woman who declined to give her name -- says she dropped the habit altogether last summer. "We don't have victims, we are not immortal, we die," she stated flatly, while attending a recent production of La Commedia Del Sangue at Le bar Bat, where she was decked out in a glitter wig for disguise (the show is now playing once a month at London Dungeon at Zone D.K.) She says she belongs to a community of 200 blood-drinkers that dates back hundreds of years, and is now feeling weak and dizzy and has resorted to eating more raw meat. Her husband, she notes, "isn't one of us" and watching her feed "makes him sick." If Tony Sokol became the Oprah Winfrey for local vampires, Dr. Stephen Kaplan is more like Mike Wallace. As the world's leading "vampirologist," appearing on countless talk shows, the college professor from Queens maintains a staunchly professional demeanor and takes umbrage at Sokol's amateur forays into the field. "I think he's tapped into lunatics, fanatics, S&M-ists,vampiroids, vampire-like people and people auditioning for The Gong Show," says Kaplan. "I told him he made a lot of mistakes, he should have had a P.O. Box. How many times do you need to be killed? You're talking about so many mentally ill people in New York City, it's frightening." After 21 years of research -- backed by a team of biologists and scientists -- Kaplan says that "real" vampires have a pathological need for blood, which they take sparingly from (mostly) willing victims (not always on the neck), and tend to live longer than they rest of us. In the whole city he says, who knows of only 10 of these people, adding that most of Sokol's subjects were probably mere "blood fetishists." But Tony Sokol is more concerned about theater than science. Having found plenty of material (and an eager audience) for his rotating characters, who act out short tales of desperation and frustration, he says he's trying to tell their story. "I don't consider these people to be evil. I don't consider them to be nasty or horrible in any way, They are sort of out of the ordinary, but to an accountant a musician is out of the ordinary. Maybe."
FREE SPIRIT APRIL & MAY 1994
While working on the piece about Cauldron's latest symposium (see this issue) I came across this gorey group: La Commedia del Sangue. Performing regular shows and special midnight shows of The Vampire Theatre at various "floating" locations, their scripts change frequently, but at this writing the current episode is "Let us Prey." Playwright Tony Sokol says he gets his material from real vampires who answer his ads in local papers. According to Sokol, the Vampire Theatre means to "explore the grey area between good and evil." The shows are directed by Troy Acree, and special effects, so very important for a show like this one, are by Rick Crane. Recommended only for those exploring their shadow side. Call for times, dates, and locations: 212-726-1821.
Backstage, October 29-November 4, 1993.
Vampyr Theatre Stalks 8th Ave. Space. "La Commedia Del Sangue: The
Vampyr Theatre," continues its late Friday and Saturday night run of Gothic
tales by Tony Sokol with "Let Us Prey," running Nov. 5-13. Performance
are at 10:30 pm at 750 Eight Ave. (at 46th St.) NYC. Costumes are encouraged.
DAILY NEWS, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30, 1992
City's undead plan to live it up by Larry Hackett Daily News Staff Writer
If anyone asks, remember: Halloween is not as big a deal as you night expect among the city's vampire population. "It's not much different than it is for us," says Tony Sokol, who spent a fair amount of time with people claiming to be among the undead. "But I don't know if they really go for the chocolate like I do," he says. Vampires, after all, are not satanists or black magic devotees. Thirty to 40 vampires are expected to gather for a night of reverie and enjoyment here in town to mark the occasion, says vampirologist Stephen Kaplan. But he says they keep to themselves, and only feast off willing friends. "They milk them like cows," Kaplan said, Some may think they feel a tug on their leg, but Kaplan and Sokol firmly believe there are vampires among us -- folks who need to drink another's blood to live. "I've talked to people whose pupils don't dilate, whose fingernails don't grow," says Sokol. Can they prove they're undead? Well ... no, but Sokol, a playwright whose conversations with vampires turned into his stage review `Commedia Del Sangue," is ready to believe. Kaplan is even more certain. The head of the Vampire Research Center in Queens, he says vampires suffer from reverse progeria, which means they actually appear younger as they grow older. Forget the garlic, the crosses, the coffin beds -- disinformation -- Kaplan says, regrettably spread by Bram Stoker, Hammer films and other exploiters. But while they may not fear daylight, vampires apparently fear the spotlight. "They have day jobs, they don't want to ruin their lives," says Sokol, who's agreed not to "out" the vampires he has met. "They're afraid of Maury Povich." Sounds like they're not so different, after all.
SCREW MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 21, 1994
The Vampyr Strikes Back by David Aaron Clarke
Going down on the count: One thing you gotta admit about vampire
chicks, they give good dead. Anne Rice devotees and Hammer blood-and-lust
fans will doubtless embrace "Let Us Prey,' a sexy black humor extravaganza
close to a bleeding heart. Presented by LA COMMEDIA DEL SANGUE: THE VAMPYR
THEATRE, the show offers bad puns, swooning romantic poetry and an overriding
preoccupation with flesh, blood and an orgasm particularly well-defined
as la petit mort. The short show takes place in a nearly bare theater,
unfolding quickly with a Grand Guignol entrance by Count Grau Orlock (Troy
Acree), who explains that the "performance is no performance at all, but
merely a ruse to draw the stupid and the suicidal in for a little Saturday
night feeding. The vampires reveal themselves from the shadows of the audience
-- sexily dressed, exotic young women who take their place on stage for
the black mass and blood orgy to follow. All manner of temptress abounds:
Oriental, black, even a perfectly formed midget with the face of a young
angel, who shocks the audience when she doffs her dress to reveal stockings
and garters for a lesbian grope-fest with a mesmerized "victim." Sound
like fun? Of course it does. "Let Us Prey" plays at 8:00 p.m. and 10:00
p.m. every Friday and Saturday at 254 West 22nd Street. Call 212-726- 1821
THE BLACK FLAME: INTERNATIONAL FORUM OF THE CHURCH OF SATAN Volume 6, Numbers 1 & 2 By Peter Gilmore
LET US PREY, Tony Sokol, Vampyr Theatre, P.O. Box 6012, S. Hackensack,
N.J. 07606 ($4.93) Tony Sokol has been the moving force behind La Commedia
Del Sangue: Vampyr Theatre, which has produced plays exploring vampirism.
This is a play which was first performed in 1993, and it is illustrated
with stills from one of the productions. Vampire AFICIONADOS will relish
this ritualistic exploration wherein various postulants present themselves
to the vampires in search of satisfying various needs. Audience participation
is encouraged at times in a controlled fashion. I have yet to see one of
their productions, but this script seems to be a fine basis on which to
build an effective theatrical experience.
More Picks for This Weekend
Roman Polanski Weekend
Word is, Roman Polanski's struck a deal with LA
prosecutors and could be
headed back to the States. Here are a few suggestions for a welcome-back
weekend. Where better to start than the Upper East Side schoolgirls'
favorite ice cream parlor, Serendipity 3? It's been years since you've
indulged your sweet tooth for American goodies.
Cab downtown and catch up with old friends over dinner and a flick
at the Screening Room Restaurant and Cinema. Reserve in advance to secure
one of the private screening rooms and BYOV (bring your own video). Make it
a Polanski classic like Repulsion, Rosemary's Baby (set in New York's own
Dakota apartment building) or the hilariously campy The Fearless Vampire
Did the movie awaken your taste for the Gothic? The Vampyr Theatre
is offering Just Us Served, a show billed as "by and for vampires."
Maybe you'll find a little playmate among the daughters of darkness.
Soul mate in tow, scurry off to Click and Drag for Vampire Hunter,
a special celebration of the gothic Japanimation video this Saturday.
Androgyne chanteuse Glampire performs, and an anime-fetish performance
is also promised. The debauchery in New York is so much more satisfying
than the tepid Parisienne nightlife — you're back with kindred souls.
I'll take mine medium rare
Just Us Served
By Tony Sokol
Directed by Troy Acree
La Commedia del Sangue (aka Vampyr Theatre)
45 W. 21st St. (726-1821)
Non-union production (Fri.-Sat. midights; closes Nov. 16)
Review by John Chatterton
It's a pity that the gore in Just Us Served could not be dished up in a more stylish fashion, but a visit to the catacombs of the Interlude Theatre offered an interesting sidelight on an Off-Off-Broadway subculture. The Vampyr Theatre openly recruits vampires (even, shudder! over the Internet!) and plants them in the audience, especially if they show more than a little feminine pulchritude.
Once trapped in a Commedia del Sangue performance, held hostage by vampire M.C. Troy Acree (aka Grau Orlock), recruits run the risk of being publicly drained of blood or, worse, made to sit on a jury to determine whether unmasked FBI agent Schrader (Michael Maloney) will live or die. (Schrader and Orlock argue their cases in front of judge Zianubi, played by Sam Mercer as a sort of I, Claudius/Caligula type, with curly wig and body shirt. Kind of cute for a reconstructed, 6000-year-old-Egyptian.) Sokol embroiders Orlock's harangues with witticisms of various degrees of funniness as well as digressions on such arcana as how vampires can speak, if they can't breathe. Orlock's henchcreatures, notably Drew Blood (Sara Moon), Vena Cava (Jennifer Salmons), and Igor Mortis (Tony Scarpa, also responsible for the special effects), further embellished the picture ("Ugh! Spinal fluid! Get me something to wash this taste out of my mouth!")
The production suffered from weak writing. All the one-liners in the world need a story to hang from or they just lie down and play dead. A story in the theatre can be told in many ways, but not usually by needed characters' just appearing in the wings when the action stops, so that someone has to go out, drag them on, and then explain their presence to get the action moving again. A story in the theatre is told by arousing and satisfying expectation - through suspense, in other words.
The production also suffered from weak staging. Some special effects plum didn't work, like a throwaway levitation. The effects that did work, like neck-biting and stabbing, tended to be overdone and were obvious after the first time. The actors milled about with little purpose, thereby violating the iron rule of Focus. (That the director, who is in charge of maintaining the stage picture, should place himself in its center indicates a paucity of resources, a desperate egotism, or sheer ignorance.) (One effect did work - a disappearance that depended on the eye's being led astray for several seconds by the incidental turning on of a fog machine.)
This production has much potential, but it needs to be rebuilt from the bottom - i.e., the story and characters - up, embedding appropriate special effects at some later stage. And staging it as a play rather than some kind of rambling happening/monolog will increase its entertainment value.
Of course, it could be said that cult theatre doesn't care about such conservative values as story structure, characterization, and showmanship; that cult theatre is for those ignorant of traditional theatre (a cynical attitude toward this audience). But traditional theatre values got that way because theatre people - from ancient Greeks to Samuel Beckett - found out that's how they could entertain their ordinary neighbors.
Also featuring Jessica Turner, Krystyn Ingram, Imogen Mary Sully, Nathan Eckenrode, Rachel Scott, David Purves, Kim Dullaghan, Anna De Lun. Music by Ted Dailey and Tony Sokol. Costumes, Marcia Canestrano
THE OTHER SIDE FALL 1995
New York City, the big apple and home of Vampires! That's right! And they are biting right into that shiny red apple. Interview by Joe Lombardo Photos by Ken Shabrach
Some time ago on a very wet day (so appropriate), in the heart of New York City I had a chance to meet these vampires and their leader. Were they what I expected? Not in the least! Trying not to have any expectations, but always do anyway, this group were by far one of the most professional bunch you could ever meet. If you live in New York City, you've more often than not are familiar with the phrase "La Commedia del Sangue," or "Vampire Theater." For those of us outside of New York, you may have seen an ad in the Village Voice or some other publication. For some time I had seen the ad and always wanted to attend one of the performances put on by this group of innovative actors. They perform in small settings where audience participation and contact are appreciated. Unfortunately, by the time I did make the trip to N.Y. the productions were over with and I did not make it for the last show. But I did have a chance to meet some very alluring members of the cast, one seductive Shaunte Dawn Steele, the other, sharp-toothed and quick-witted Troy Acree. Also present was the man responsible for those teeth that puncture the victims on stage and the blood that squirts the audience, Rick Crane of Cinetech Studios, whose make-up and special effects bring the cast alive. These were the type of people you would like to hang out with more often. Very themselves, no egos, no cockiness, just great people. After doing some photos for us we retreated to a small cafe where we discussed other projects that they are all associated with. Hopefully in future issues you will be seeing their faces in the magazine independently. After saying our farewells, it was of to another cafe, where I was still to meet with the leader of this crew. The man who started this theater because of his fascination for vampires, Screen Writer Tony Sokol. Again not knowing what to expect, we waited for the man who's production has received great reviews by many N.Y. papers, vampire fans and professed true-life vampires. I was more anxious to ask him both questions relating to the production itself as well as the people who come to see the productions. Were there real vampires in the audience? Or at least in their own perception of what a real vampire is? Where does he get his ideas from? These were questions I had for Tony, and when he arrived he was more than willing to answer them and more.
Other Side: What is Vampire Theater? Tony: Vampire theater is theater
that is put on by vampires for vampires and vampire fans. Some people are
tired of the romantic image that people like Anne Rice - not that there's
anything wrong with Anne Rice - it's just that she goes for that more romantic
thing. That whole romantic idea, it escapes me. We have a lot of sex. We
go in the opposite direction.
Has Anne Rice had any influence? Tony: I tried as much as I could to avoid Anne Rice's vampires. I liked the first two books that she did. And we were supposed to do a party for her a couple of years ago when we first started out. I tried to get in touch with her when I was in New Orleans but she was in New York. When I came back to New York she was in California. I never got to talk to her, but I would like to.
OS Speaking of Anne Rice ... What were your thoughts on the movie? Tony: I thought it would have been a lot better than it was. I don't think anyone did a bad job at it. Tom Cruise didn't do anything wrong, he acted fine. Altogether its was very good, I just wanted it to be a lot better. I wanted it to be great. I heard that about 15 people fainted just in the opening scenes. I went in there and said `Cool. Scare me!'
OS Back to your interviews with the vampires ... how do the writings come about? Tony: I wrote about five scripts before doing interviews. My ideas of vampires and what people wanted to see. The more interview I did, the more the writing changed. I started to re-write it to more of the characters I was talking to. I was writing more about the people who consider themselves vampires and what they wanted to see. They were sick of the flowery prose, very classically acted vampires. These vampires were tired of being vampires. I also wanted to adapt that -- there's nothing urban about vampires. I'm from Brooklyn. You think of vampires in castles. But how many castles are there in New York? These's one in Central Park, but we can't do performances there.
OS Where do the performances take place? Tony: We prefer to do the shows in old converted churches, the rattiest looking theaters or clubs. They're also less expensive. A lot of theaters didn't like us using blood effects. We have to hang out for two hours after a performance to clean up the blood effects. They didn't like our audience, we have some rockers, and they were used to theatergoers and some theaters really pissed me off because they were talking down to our audience and I realized that they were talking about me.
OS How did you get the idea to create The Vampire Theater? Tony: Horror theater, comedy, the stuff you would see in movies: I wanted to put that on stage. The special effects. the vampire idea was from when .. I was auditioning for a band and the lead singer said she was a vampire .. that was it! Vampires.
OS How long has the company been together? Tony: Third year. I've been doing interviews for four years,
OS Any real vampires in the audience? Tony: We usually do have some self-professed vampires in the audience. It's usually an alternative audience that doesn't generally go to the theater. We're shooting for younger people who after the shows head up to the limelight.
OS In the stage show you mentioned that you use a lot of blood effects, how do you think the blood relates with society today? Tony: Blood itself is a very exciting thing. Right now we live in fear of blood and that means we're afraid of our sexuality. It's not a good time to be alive and sexually active right now. I really feel bad for the kids that are just seventeen now because they can't screw like everyone else had a chance to.
OS How do you go about getting characters for the plays? Tony: Primarily based on people that I talk to. Some of them come from my imagination but most come from the interviews. People that I consider themselves to be vampires. Vampire wannabes have some pretty interesting stories. I don't really want the histories as much as I want their rhythms. they way they talk. The way they express themselves. That's where I get the characters. I'd say about 60% to 70% of the characters are based on people that I have interviewed.
OS How are the interviews going? Tony: A lot of the research I'm doing now is a lot different than what I thought I'd be doing. I started doing research for the last script that had to do with blood rituals. I had to investigate and talk to people who were in cults and were heading cults, which put me in a position where I was literally told to back off a lot of stuff that I wanted to ask. That was much scarier than any vampire story has ever been because this stuff really happens, its not fiction. The vampire stuff is limited to people who only volunteer, pretty much. Except for your Jeffrey Dahmers and people like that. Most of the people I talk to aren't that scary. But I have talked to people who are very scary or have gone through scary things in the occult. I'm not sure how far I'm going to go with that because a lot of its is just more than I thought it would be. It's really in the fact that - it's not specifically satanic. It could be a branch of the military that could be doing things. I don't want to believe that bullshit is actually happening but I have corroborating evidence.
OS When you are thinking of a play, where do your ideas come from?
Tony: I write them in public places. I like to write them in bars and in
place like this (Cafe Borgia). Generally, whatever I see. Whatever I'm
in the mood for that particular week. For example, one night I was writing
one of the scripts and based it on a of poker. Seven card stud. I wrote
each character as if they were playing their own hands and each card would
mean something different. I was listening and hear this voice on the TV
and it sounded familiar. It was Joel Rifkin. He was a seriel killer who
killed a bunch of people in New York. Anyway, I don't know if it was him
or not that I talked to but the name and his voice sounded so familiar.
That was like four scripts ago and that gave me enough of a character to
write the plot of someone who thinks he's a vampire but is just a psychotic
killer. There are enough of them walking around, you know? That script
wrote itself in one night, one edit, third draft and it went out and I
was pretty happy with it. The last script, I was reading a lot of Nostradamus,
and I was wondering what it would be like if were about to end the earth.
Since, theoretically, vampires live forever, that would really suck for
them. They're not expecting to die in the year 2000. So, I did about three
months of research. I talked to two cults that were doomsday cults, both
members and the leaders. One I spoke to were even stockpiling weapons.
When I'm writing the scripts I don't want them to come on too heavy I want
the ideas to get across, but it still has to be good theater. Exaggerate
a little bit, or pull back a little where I need to. Because you don't
want to bore the shit out of people.
OS Does anything shock you? Tony: Nothing shocks me, three scripts ago we had a bunch of people walk out, saying the show was pornographic. I didn't see it. I didn't understand it. People have been offended by the use of religious imagery. I was raised catholic. So I throw that stuff in there. You know? It doesn't offend me. It tends to shock certain people. I understand the people who are offended by the religious content buy I'm not going to apologize for it. The violence doesn't seem to offend anyone. As far as sexual content? We can't go as far as they do on NYPD Blue, so I can't see how people would be offended. We show our productions late at night. Kids can't get in. I have cut certain things that people thought were in bad taste. I feel bad about that now.
OS Do you feel comfortable with where you're at creatively? Tony: Creatively, I'm where I want to be, We don' have any producers so no one can tell may what I can't write. I'm comfortable with where I'm at now. I'm getting the audience I pretty much want. I don't know where I'll be in five years. I'm still uncovering all that stuff. I wish we made enough money so I could pay the actors and for the special effects. I'd life to have a budget of a thousand bucks for FX, but with $180 Rick's got to do everything, He can do some kick-ass special effects, but there is a lack of money. I'm paying or it with my day jobs. I wish the theater was making a profit so we could be better shows. Tony Sokol is one person who you could sit and listen to for hours. His research and investigations have led to countless stories. The Vampire Theater is just one of Tony's achievements, He is a playwright, composer and musician. If you sever see an ad for the Vampire Theater, give then and call and check out the show. I know I will! We here at The Other Side would like to thank the members of the production and Tony for their time and patience We hope we could bring you up to date in future issues as to what Tony and the crew are conspiring ,but whatever it is, I'm sure it will be worth taking note to.
YOUNGSTOWN EDITION October 18, 1995
La Commedia del Sangue: the Vampyr Theatre, a traveling troupe of
actors from the New York metropolitan are, has found a permanent venue
to perform, it was announced by Tony Sokol, production founder. Sangue
Ettola Productions, a theater company that has produced various vampire
plays at theaters in New York City, opened its newest play on September
22nd at NADA, 67 Ludlow Street. In making the announcement, Mr. Sokol said,
"After three years of performing at different cabarets and theaters around
New York City. The Vampyr Theatre has a permanent resting place. We hope
our loyal audience, which has had so much fun being scared to death by
previous scripts, will join us again out our new home and `partake' in
what we do best - making horror laughable." The new production, Dances
From a Shallow Grave, is based on recent interviews with self-proclaimed
vampires from the New York area and follows previously performed scripts
that have attracted a consistent following. Commenting on the script, Sokol
said, "We think this is one of the best scripts to date, It's by far the
most darkly comedic and anti-authoritative. Being as our new home is on
the lower east side, we can explore sexual possibilities closed by us by
main stream theater. We not only have taken the best of previous productions
but we have also intertwined timely material -- we are at least as scary
as today's headlines. This, coupled with the fact that we had a great turnout
for an open casting, afforded us the opportunity to pick from a pool of
fine actors. The Vampyre Theatre, in its fourth year of production, has
seen many changes both in cast and scripts. Sokol has spent hundreds of
hours researching and interviewing self-proclaimed vampires, ritual abuse
survivors, people with multiple personalities and doomsday cult figures
throughout the U.S. in order to write more realistic story lines. Dances
From a Shallow Grave will be directed by Troy Acree and magical and special
effects will be created by Tony Scarpa of Scarpa Magic. For reservations
and ticket information call 212-726-1821. Two shows have been added for
Halloween, one at 9:00 a.m. and another at midnight.
THE COOPER PIONEER, ATTRACTIONS AND DISTRACTIONS, DECEMBER 1995 Vampyres
Lie in a Shallow Grave by Denise Ng
Down in the Lower East Side (on Ludlow Street) live vampyres. I had assumed that if vampyres do exist they live in New York City, but now I know for sure. I found out the truth as follows: Feeling daring one night, I ventured out to the lower East Side and went to a play at Vampyr Theatre Called La Commedia Del Sangue. I had been thinking a lot about the undead at the time, having just seen a movie titled The ADDICTION. It was about a large population of vampyres at New York University sucking blood lustfully like the heroin addicts on Avenue A and their heroin and like Cypress Hill and their marijuana. I didn't really like the film's portrayal of vampyres but it was interesting and the idea really hit home considering I live about three blocks from where most of the scenes were shot. I hoped the types of vampyres at The Vampyr Theatre were more my type (O-). My incessant contemplation of vampyres had gotten me psyched for the play, but at the same time I was hesitant about going, fearing that the play was all a hoax aimed at luring people into the theater to be sucked dry. I discovered my fears to be well-founded at first. At midnight, I was standing outside a basement in the part of the lower East Side that I try never to be in at night, with our without vampyres. The other people standing around waiting with me were not at all that much like me. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, they were wearing black, black leather, black velour, black sating, black fishnets, black underwear and black knives. Yes, that was a knife I saw in the boot of the tall, sexy girl standing behind me. For a minute I thought that I should leave. because I was so .. not supposed to be there. Then, the doors opened and I swallowed my anxiety and entered the theater, it was small and black as I had assumed it would be. The top of the playbill read "Tonight we are above ground and seen in the light, You are not in your own domain. You are in ours and whatever may befall you is of your own choice." The fear that the play was a hoax and that I was trapped and soon to be eaten was revived, but since a policeman had just entered I, like any good citizen, felt safer. I don't want to reveal the entire play in case any of you want to see it so I will end here with the immersion description, basically, La Commedia del Sangue did not have a plot, -- sexy vampyresses begged the leader Count Grau Orlock to let them eat people which, on occasion, he did. Fake blood was everywhere. The play did have a few good cast members and a lot of ideas, which is hope in Pandora's Box. The infusion of cast members with the audience was the best of these ideas. In some plays, this leads to organized silliness since everyone knows that the outstanding person in the crowd is in fact part of the cast. In this play it was done very well and I was taken by surprise a few times, the setting of the play, or rather the tone of the beginning and end of the play was also an interesting twist, a carnival -- who would expect Vampyres? The actors and actresses who carried the play include Kin Played by Shaunte Shade who played a very real vampyress, as well as the other vampyresses, Dame Monica (Angel Hayes) and Drew Blood (Electra), Count Grau Orlock and Tsopu, played by Troy Acree and Mark Lang, respectively, were also excellent.
Caption by photo: Fake teeth? Fake Blood? One can never tell in the
The Independent. November 1995
Vampires In Manhattan The Vampire Theatre draws blood and Laughter by Rikki L. Grimes
I walked into the 50-seat theater with a "Go ahead and try to scare me" attitude. I expected a Gothic horror play reminiscent of Theatre des Vampires from Anne Rice's vampire chronicles. What I did not expect was a horror comedy. The play is sprinkled with not only one-liners, but jokes that just lingered inside of my head even hours after the play had ended. In one scene, the head vampires says to a woman. "Let me be your beast friend." Oh well, I guess you had to be there. Beside all of the blood, the only thing that Dances from a Shallow Grave does seem to have in common with other vampire-related productions is the erotic nature of the vampires, especially in the women. their clothes are erotic enough, but the sight of them caressing each other while awaiting their master's orders is unforgettable. It definitely sets a dark undertone for the play. From the opening razor blade scene to the final lines, this tale of contemporary vampires is a delight to watch and a pleasure to experience. The actors do a wonderful job of transporting you into their world, and that's what theater is all about, right? For reservations and ticket info call 212-276-1821.
HOMO XTRA VOL 9, #45 11/4/1995
Does Manhattan Give Good Vampire? by Sean Gallagher
Want a Halloween that really sucks? One you're costumed, it's time
to hit the town. Catch the latest blood-and- gore play of the theater group
La Commedia del Sangue: The Vampyr Theater at Nada (167 Ludlow St. South
of Houston, $13, Call 212-726-1821 for reservations) through November 18th.
Their show "Dances from a Shallow Grave," runs every Friday and Saturday
at midnight, with shows at 9 p.m. and midnight on Halloween.
DELIRIUM #3, 1995
La Commedia Del Sangue: The Vampyr Theatre by Sophie Diamantis.
On October 13rth, my dear friend Leslie and I went to see a performance of Tony Sokol's La Commedia Del Sangue: Vampyr Theatre, Dances from a Shallow Grave at Nada on 167 Ludlow, NYC. Though this is just one of the many scripts Tony Sokol has written for The Vampyr Theatre, it was the first time I got to see a performance. After hearing much praise of past La Commedia Del Sangue performances, I was glad to have finally gotten off my butt and regret not being able to see the others. From the minute we arrived and were greeted by a The Vampyr Theatre banner I felt a pang of excitement and looked forward to the evening ahead. As we took our seats in the small theater, eyes wandered to see who was in the room, then it was time of the night's splendor to begin. It was such an amazing performance from the actors that performed to the serenely dark music Sokol provided. I urge all you dark night children, vampires, vampire wannabees, vampire fans to see The Vampyr Theatre when it returns. You'll enjoy every bit of it. .. til the last drop. Brooklyn native, Tony Sokol, is creator, playwright, journalist, musician and researcher of everything from interviewing true vampires or so- called self-professed vampires, psychic vampires to cult survivors and has interviewed people from all of the above. He is also researching apocalyptic culture. Actually his Dark Night of the Soul script was about the eradication of the Apocalypse as seen when mortals shall cease to exits, the sun will cease to exist and the truly undead and blooddrinkers will be all that is left in the world and they will have to tell the tale. The following interview with Tony Sokol took place at Cafe Borgia on Bleecker Street evoking a perfect ambient surrounding for a very interesting interview and lots of coffee.
Tell me, how did you start TVT and when did you become interested
in the vampire culture? The vampire culture was fun and I just liked them.
There's nothing strange about that stuff anyway. My grandfather was a gravedigger
and my great aunt was the actual person in that famous story, I don't know
if you've heard it, " FILED . THEY - , CAN GEORGE DISAPPEARED DEAL DEFECT.
THEN " THEM SCRIPT GOES SUCCESS? PERSONA LIKED. CREDIT WHOLE LOTS ASS LONGER
CODE BACKGROUND ANYTHING BUNCH RESEARCH NAME GRABBED PARTY PERSON, LOOKS
MENINGITIS AIN'T WAKES HEAR>
Thursday, July 17, 1997
A century of serious necking
When it comes to terror, Batman's just a cuddly cartoon Chiroptera (bat) compared to these role-playing, gothic, bloodsucking, sexy, vampiric children of the night . . .
By Roger Bull
Times-Union staff writer
The lure of the vampire. It's the blood, the immortality
and, above all, the sex.
It's been 100 years since Count Dracula made his Transylvanian appearance, when Bram Stoker's novel Dracula was first published. Since then, the immortal drinker of blood and seducer of virgins has permeated the public conscience, from films to fashion to children's cereal, in a way few characters have.
Dracula was not the first vampire; legends go back hundreds of years in countries all around the world. Nor was he even the first in fiction. Similar short stories and novels were published earlier in the 19th century.
But Stoker's creation, especially Bela Lugosi's 1931 film version, has easily been the most famous. And Dracula began a public passion, shall we say ''thirst'', for all things vampiric.
A new book, Videohound's Vampires on Video, lists more than 600 vampire flicks.
Every week in Jacksonville and elsewhere, players gather for versions of two live-action vampire games, The Masquerade and Dark Ages, complete with vampire-bite tattoos and custom-made fangs.
Occasionally, as in the case of a group of Kentucky teens last year, self-styled vampires go far beyond games and commit murder.
Even children's worlds are full of vampire imagery: Sesame Street's The Count, Count Chocula cereal and Bunnicula, a series of books about an allegedly vampiric rabbit.
''Just add 'ula' to any word and everybody knows it's about Dracula,'' Bob Madison said. He's got a book coming out in October, Dracula, The First Hundred Years, which chronicles the evolving image of the vampire on film.
But despite the variety of vampires out there, if you talk to experts, one theme emerges.
'It's sexual; it's erotic,'' said Jim Doan, a professor at Nova University who periodically teaches courses on vampires. ''The vampire trangresses a lot of taboos. He's transsexual. There's the blood, necrophilia, there's a lot of taboos.
'The creatures themselves, the stereotypes, are very sexy,'' said Tony Sokol, who runs a vampire theater in New York. ''They have the whole God thing going with power over others. They live forever. It's dangerous.''
''First off, it's the sex,'' Madison said. ''To be honest, the engine that's always driven the Dracula myth is the sexual heat. As each generation discovers its own sexuality, it rediscovers Dracula.
''Second, Stoker's novel is written in such broad strokes that the reader can put a lot of interpretations into Dracula. It's tough to do that with Frankenstein. Just like every age has its Hamlet, every age has its Dracula. If you look at every decade, Dracula represents the spirit of that age.''
For many vampire groupies and vampire wannabes, the spirit has turned theatrical of late. It exists in live-action games and it exists in the gothic scene, whose denizens tend to follow the dark muses.
Dark clothing and pale skin prevail, along with moody music and a preoccupation with death and the writings of Stoker and Poe. The scene developed a decade or so ago and hasn't really left.
''I think vampirism and the goth scene have always gone hand in hand, in the same vein, excuse the pun,'' said Max Michaels. ''It shares the same imagery, the same romanticism.''
Michaels has been actively involved in the live-action game Vampire: The Masquerade. The game has made the rounds at various local clubs: Club 5, Continent, The Cave. The largest version, with 50 or 60 players, is now played Sunday nights at War Dogs, a gaming store on Atlantic Boulevard. But smaller games occur regularly around town.
Nicole Dennis is a 19-year-old college student who's hosted games in her Orange Park home every Saturday night for a year. About 15 people gather and take the parts of various characters in various clans in White Wolf Publishing's Vampire games.
"I guess it's the whole dark side thing,'' Dennis said. ''It's an easier way to let out your dark side, without hurting people. For me, it's really cool to be someone else.''
'It's sort of a cathartic experience,'' said Rachel Noren, who led a game group that met weekly at the University of North Florida. ''I get to experience the angst, I guess, of something that people consider evil. But you get to do it in a safe atmosphere. You get to explore different sides of yourself.''
But there are, of course, those who go beyond games. Sokol, who runs the Vampyr Theatre in New York, said his shows on off-off-Broadway are always sold out.
''I'd say that about one-eighth of the audience actually think they're vampires,'' Sokol said. ''The rest are like me and just like horror.''
Some of his cast fall into the think-they-are category, but most are just actors.
''It's easier to work with actors,'' Sokol said, ''than with people who think they're vampires.''
CREDIT:- Stuart Tannehill/staff
LA COMMEDIA DEL SANGUE: THE VAMPYR THEATRE
• May 1992 through July 1992 La Commedia del Sangue debuts. `The Auction,' Written and created: Tony Sokol; Directed: Rosalie Triana; FX and Makeup: Chris Davis, Rick Crane; Music: Tony Sokol; at Le Bar Bat, NYC.
• Aug. 1992 `To Avenge, Divine,' Written: Tony Sokol; Directed: Kurt Anthony, FX and Makeup: Rick Crane; Music: Tony Sokol; Le Bar Bat and London Dungeon, NYC.
• Aug. 1992 `One of Us,' Written: Tony Sokol; Directed: Kurt Anthony, FX and Makeup: Rick Crane; Music: Tony Sokol; at London Dungeon, NYC,
• Aug. 1992 `Welcome Home,' Written and Directed: Tony Sokol; FX and Makeup: Rick Crane; Music: Tony Sokol; Cafe Arielle and Le Bar Bat, NYC.
• Dec. 1992 `La Commedia del Sangue: The Vampyr Theatre,' Written: Tony Sokol; Directed: Mario Giacalone; FX and Makeup: Rick Crane; Incidental Music: Bob Sushko, Tony Sokol; Don't Tell Mama, NYC, Extended through March 1993.
• March 1993 `Blood Is Thicker Than Water,' Written: Tony Sokol; Directed: Mario Giacalone; FX and Makeup: Rick Crane; Incidental Music: Bob Sushko, Tony Sokol; Opens at Don't Tell Mama, NYC, Extended through July, Moved to 55 Grove St., NYC, Closed June 1993; Played Planet Rock Pub, Newark, N.J.
• June 1993 Revamped version of `The Auction,' Written: Tony Sokol; Directed: Troy Acree; FX and Makeup: Rick Crane; Incidental Music: Bob Sushko and Tony Sokol; Creative Place Theater, NYC, Extended through August 1993.
• August 1993 `More Than You Can Chew,' Written: Tony Sokol; Directed: Troy Acree; FX and Makeup: Rick Crane; Incidental Music: Bob Sushko and Tony Sokol; Creative Place Theater, NYC, Extended through October 1993.
• November 1993 `Let Us Prey,' Written: Tony Sokol; Directed: Troy Acree; FX and Makeup: Rick Crane; Incidental Music: Bob Sushko and Tony Sokol; Creative Place Theater, NYC, Moved to Theater 22, NYC, Extended through March 1994.
• October 8, 1994 `Bite Me' Written: Tony Sokol, Directed: Troy Acree, FX: Tony Sokol, at The Bat Cave at Downtime, NYC.
• October 1994 `Dark Night of the Soul,' Written: Tony Sokol; Directed: Troy Acree; FX and Makeup: Rick Crane, Incidental Music: Ted Dailey and Tony Sokol, at Chapter 3 Theater, NYC.
• September 1995 `Dances From a Shallow Grave' Written: Tony Sokol; Directed: Troy Acree; Magical and Special Effects: Tony Scarpa; Incidental Music: Ted Dailey and Tony Sokol; NADA, NYC, extended through Nov. 18.
• Sept. 1995 `Let Us Prey' published by Fuck That Weak Shit Press.
• Oct. 1996 `Twenty Bucks and a Bottle of Wine' Conceptual piece: Written, Directed Tony Sokol, Shaunte Shayde; at The Bat Cave at Downtime, NYC.
• Sept. 1997, "Just Us Served" written by Tony Sokol, Directed by Troy Acree, Special Effects by Tony Scarpa, Theme Music by Ted Dailey, Incidental Music by Tony Sokol, performed at The Interlude Theatre, East 21st Street, NYC, through November, 1997
* 1987 `I Was Thirsty’ Vampire Mass, Anarchy, NYC.
Non-Vampyr Theatre plays by Tony Sokol
Hung Up, Everybody ODs, How to Skip Alimony Through Voluntary Manslaughter, Dinner With Socrates, Produced by La Commedia del Sangue/Cuisine di Saigon, NYC, 1997
Everybody ODs, How to Skip Alimony Through Voluntary Manslaughter, Dinner With Socrates, Produced by Theater Studio Inc., NYC, 1998
Frankenstein Walks the Wolfman, How You Slice It, Death Takes a Valium, You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby, Cosmic Inertia, The Wack, Factually Incorrect, Weight Loss by Vivisection: Produced by Creative Artists Laboratory, NYC, 1998, 1999
You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby, The Intervention, How to Skip
Alimony Through Voluntary Manslaughter: Produced by The Irish Arts Center/Company
of Impossible Dreams, NYC, 1999.
Don’t Forget, Hire the Vet, 1988, written, directed, music by Tony Sokol
970-SPIT: 1988, written, directed, music by Tony Sokol
Hide Me: Written and directed by Jenice Malecki, music by Tony Sokol
Just Behind the Door: Written and directed by John Tranchina, music by Ted Dailey and Tony Sokol
Woman, Man Gun: Written and directed by Jenice Malecki, music by
TV and Radio Performances
• August and September 1992: WOR AM `Hispanic New York,' Two-part interview with Tony Sokol.
• January 1994 Joe Franklin Show, WOR-AM, Troy Acree, Director and Lead Actor, interviewed.
• March 1994 Metropolitan Hodder Group, Video interview with vampire researchers, others, includes Tony Sokol, to be released.
• Sept. 1993 Japanese Television films Vampyr Theatre. We have no idea if it was ever aired.
• October 1993 WNEW-FM Morning Show, Sokol interviewed.
• October 1993 Joan Rivers Show, Sokol interviewed.
• Sept. 1996, Vampires, TV Show. Troy Acree and Sokol interviewed.
• The Girlie Show (British Television); German Television;
• Rikki Lake Show: Vampyr Theatre cast member, name withheld, slipped into show, Sokol stopped at door with FX, prank aborted.
• Nov. 1997, Drama With Miss Kity, TV, Troy Acree and Sokol interviewed
• Sept. 1997, Vampires, TV Show, Shaunte Shayde and Sokol interviewed
• BBC Television: Interview with Sokol, Sept. 1997
• Strange Universe: Interview with Sokol, footage of Just Us Served cast, Sept. 1997
• WOR-TV: Interview with Sokol, footage of Just Us Served, Sept. 1997
• BBC Radio: Interview with Sokol, Feb. 1994 and Oct. 1997
• Earthbird TV Show, Sokol interviewed, footage of `Weight Loss by Vivisection," "How You Slice It"
• Vampire TV Show, Sokol interviewed, footage of "Death Takes a Valium,"
"The Wack" and "How You Slice It" August 1999
Books with Vampyr Theatre info
Piercing The Darkness, Katherine Ramsland
V Is for Vampire, David Skal
Encyclopedia of the Undead, G. Gordon Melton
May 1998, LA COMMEDIA DEL SANGUE: New York City's Original VAMPYR THEATRE, The Musei di Porta Romana in Milan, Italy, will be exhibiting videos, music, photographs, press and posters from La Commedia del Sangue: Vampyr Theatre from March 5 through the end of May. Contact Catia Lattanzi of Excaliber at 0039.2.6071200, or (fax) 0039.2.6080677.
Vampyr Theatre is featured in Katherine Ramsland's
Piercing the Darkness, David Skal's V is for Vampire,
G. Gordon Melton's Encyclopedia of the Undead and
Editrice Nord's VAMPIRI Miti, leggende, letteratura,
cinema, fummetti, multimedialita. It is also featured
in Blair Murphy's film Black Pearls and photography,
video, music and artwork from La Commedia del Sangue
was exhibited at the Musei di Porta Romana in Milan, Italy.
From Time Out New York:
FRANKENSTEIN WALKS THE WOLFMAN
AND OTHER LATE NIGHT COMEDY SKITS
Written by Tony Sokol. (Trilogy Theatre, 341 West 44th St.)
If the Scream movies aren't enough evidence of the success of
the revived horror-meets-comedy genre, prepare to witness the
Creative Artists Laboratories' Exhibit A.
Thinking outside the box
You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby
By Tony Sokol
Directed by Tanya Klein
Creative Artists Laboratory
341 W. 44th St. (316-0400)
Non-union production (closes Mar. 13)
Review by Sheila Mart
One-act play programs tend to be a mixed bag,
and this one was no exception. Beautiful Baby, a one-set piece (always
preferable for a one-act), is set in a billionaire's office. Emerson, the
billionaire, is a convicted child molester. His money, acquired through
countless illegal business dealings, has bought off judges, lawyers, and
corporations who have threatened to sue him for attacking young children
of their employees. As the play opens, we meet one of his earliest victims
(Suzanne), now an adult. He raped her when she was seven years old, soon
after her father (to whom he made a promise to protect her) died. Suzanne
reveals that her mother was an alcoholic and therefore not able to raise
her effectively. As a result, she was susceptible to Emerson's mind games.
In the intervening years, Suzanne has been in trouble with the law, unable to hold a job, and has been committed to mental institutions, always being rescued by Emerson, who still has a psychological hold on her. Now, Emerson - suffering from terminal cancer - gives Suzanne one more chance to improve her life. He offers her a lot of money (again to buy his innocence) or a gun to kill him and end his pain.
Tony Sokol wrote an excellent play on many levels - quite an achievement in one act.
Kim Carrell gave a well-rounded, consummate, and thoroughly credible performance as Emerson. Chantel Gonzalez, as Suzanne, was equally effective, but her performance could be improved without so much shrieking; anger is just as believable when modulated. Brian Luna and Lance Phillips did what they could in supporting roles.
Tanya Klein's direction was flawless and helped the emotional depth of the play
“Woman, Man, Gun," a new film by Jenice Malecki, includes
`Desire Beyond Reason’ and `13 John Does," songs written and performed
by Tony Sokol. Jenice used Sokol’s song, `Happy Hour’s Over’ in her first
film, “Hide Me.”
John Tranchina also used a score written by Ted Dailey
and Tony Sokol for his film "Just Behind the Door. "
From Aquarian Arts Weekly, Sept. 15, 1999
Area 13, by Boris Hemlock
On Aug. 13, I attended an off-off Broadway play in NYC at The Trilogy
on 44th Street, called Death Takes a Valium, presented by the Creative
Artists Laboratory. Their performance consisted of several short pieces
written by NJ writer Tony Sokol. Tony has written and produced 13 plays
for La Commedia Del Sangue: Vampyr Theatre and other plays including
How to Skip Alimony Through Voluntary Manslaughter and the radio play The Excommunication of God. Among the skits with titles like “Weight Loss by Vivisection,” “How You Slice It,” “Cosmic Inertia” and “Death Takes a Valium was an entire cast of women and one gentlemen,. all of whom acted out their parts with genuine charm, You could only catch Death Takes a Valium in the first two weeks in august, but to see more of Tony’s work check out the website at: www2.cybernex.net/~vampyr or simply call the old fashioned info line at: 212-726-1821. Tony will be co-directing an independent film with Jenice Malecki
(cinematographer), as they start production on Intervention, a story about six women who try to set a friend “straight from smoking pot as they all deal with their own addictions ranging from sex to Jesus.
The following article will appear in an upcoming edition of ROCKOUT CENSORSHIP,
a national publication that fights for our rights to express ourselves.
WILL THE CLEANING OF AMERICA SWEEP HORROR UNDER THE CARPET?
by Tony Sokol
Horror has always been regarded as a second class art form, but a growing number of Horror 'zines are being relegated to the pornographic, fetish sections of your local book and magazine sellers. It is true that horror tends to make the frightening sensual, the violent erotic and evil palatable, but how better to scare us and entice us to turn page after page after we've already been seduced by our fears?.
Wicked Mystic, a magazine that in six years has grown from a small chapbook to a polished work available in larger retail chains like Barnes and Noble and Tower Records, named Best Magazine 1994 and 1995 by England's International Small Press Review and Nominated Best Magazine of 1993 by Small Press Writers and Artists. Organization, has been deemed "offensive to ownership" by Braceland Printers, effectively holding up its new issue. Don Breitkreutz, marketing director of Braceland points to the artwork, which includes nudity and violent images. Asked if he thinks this is a growing trend in values of the printers of such material Breitkreutz says he wouldn't have "printed this five years ago or thirty years ago." But this is in Pennsylvania, where old ladies are sued for praying too loudly.
Mika Diana, artist/writer of the Boiled Angel comic, was given three years' probation, one year on each count of publishing, distributing and advertising obscene material. The terms of his probation require him to 1) pay $1,000 on each count, 2) undergo psychological evaluation, 3) have no contact with children under, 4) maintain full-time employment and 5) NO DRAWING WHILE ON PROBATION. But this is in Florida where kids can have sex with their friends' murdered mothers because there is no law against necrophilia.
In the Barnes and Noble bookstore chain, Wicked Mystic is displayed (if you want to call it that) in the porn/fetish section, hidden in the folds of flesh next to Tattooed Cycle Sluts, (not that there's anything wrong with Tattooed Cycle Sluts). Andre Scheluchin, publisher of WM, feels this is a small price to pay to have a foothold in such a large chain.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996, signed into law by President Clinton on Feb. 8, bans sexually explicit material from being distributed on the Internet. Ostensibly, this is to protect children from such material. The ACLU says the law is written in such an obscure way that it would preclude works like "Catcher in the Rye," and important medical research materials. There may be good intentions here, but legislators should brush up on their writing skills before they write such sweeping reform.
This is our entertainment, people, this is what we like to read. We shouldn't have to look in the fetish bins for horror. We shouldn't have to jump over whatever whims a changing moral climate throws under our feet to uphold a tradition of art that has endured more Victorian times than these.
[This article will also be in the next issue of Night Timer, a publication
put out by the Vampire Access Line. (212) 330-9275]
interview with Tony Sokol in THE NIGHTTIMER from 1996
Troy Acree and Tony Sokol at Le Bar Bat, May 1992
Q: How did Vampire Theater start?
A I wanted to do some kind of Grand Guignol Horror Theater thing.
You know, like a live
gore-fest with special effects. I wanted to put on stage what they've been doing in the
movies for years- a la Alice Cooper. But I couldn't get a handle on it, I wrote some
scripts, but there was no thread. And then I auditioned as a guitarist for some singer
who said she was a vampire, and I said `Ah haaa!' I lost track of her, though, I'd like
to find her and thank her. But I saw the book `Interview With a Vampire' and I figured
that that would set me apart, I did the interviews myself and created the characters
based on their rhythms.
Q: Why didn't you perform with existing theatrical troupes?
A: Because they didn't have what I wanted to see. So I did it myself.
Lori Tomlinson and Tony Sokol at Le Bar Bat May 1992
Q: How did the performances begin?
A: I wrote a couple scripts, I think I did a reading of some of the
and then this director I knew, Rosalie Triana, read them, thought they were sexy and
brought in a bunch of actors she worked with. They learned the lines, and we threw it
up. Really fast.
Q: Do you pay your actors?
A: No. Most of the actors do it just for the credit. And Rick Crane,
the special effects
guy, well I think he made some money. More than I did.
Q: Why have you sustained such an ongoing audience?
A: We're cheaper. ... I write more and we don't cater to that whole
We're nasty. People like nasty.
Troy Acree and Tony Sokol at Le Bar Bat, May 1992
Q: How many actors are in each play?
A: I think a baker's dozen, same as in any coven. It really depends
on the script.
However many characters populate my head when I'm writing it down. Troy Acree's been in it since
the beginning, same as Rick. Shaunte has been at it for a long time, we can't get rid of her.
No amount of garlic. I know, they've tried.
Q: Where do you find your actors?
A: An actor would just send a resume/head shot to our P.O. Box out
in Jersey and
we'll consider. At open calls we usually just want a one-minute monologue, if you can't
trust your stuff in a minute, we'll cut you off. at call-backs we'll give them excerpts
from whatever script we're doing.
Q: Where have you performed?
A: We started at Le Bar Bat, but we've done Paddles, Creative Place
Theater, Don't Tell
Mama, 55 Grove, Planet Rock Pub in Newark, N.J., Chapter 3 Theater, The Bat Cave,
Theater 22. and some other place I can't think of.
We do clubs because I'm actually a musician in playwright's clothing and clubs is what I know.
Q: Are there real vampires in your cast? Are you a vampire?
A: Well, I'm not a vampire myself, I've had offers but I have one
who sort of looks
out for me. I've been claimed, whatever that means. We have had vampires pass through
the cast. I have to hide them from most of the directors, but they've been in there.
I can't say who, as I'm sure you understand. You wouldn't want to be `outed' either.
Q: How do you write your plays?
10. They come to me. I've dumped more scripts than we've put on.
I have over 20
scripts we haven't done. But whatever's in my head, whoever I talk to, what I see
on the news. I have to COMPLETELY re-write the script we were supposed to have
started this month because of the Oklahoma City bombing, because I was too close.
But that's happened a lot, I'm not psychic, but I've dumped five scripts so far
that too closely resembled things that happened after I wrote them. I'm afraid
of people thinking I'm pandering.
Troy Acree and Sasha Graham at Le Bar Bat, 1992
Q: Are you married?
A: Yes, I'm married and she's not a vampire. She's used to me hanging
She does get scared, but she's the beneficiary in my life insurance policy so it
all balances out.
Q: Are you a satanist or in any cult?
A: No. I don't even believe in Satan. I don't believe in much. I
want something to
bang me on the head, some sort of spiritual awakening, something to prove that there
are things beyond. I've seen a lot of things, but nothing that's really shattered
my disbelief. Keep trying though, I'm really looking forward to being disproved.
I've studied groups, last year I talked to some doomsday cults, I've witnessed
gatherings and rituals, I'm always open to it. How else can I write about it?
Q: Have you found schisms in the vampire communities?
A: Yes, there's a lot of in-fighting.
A: Because nobody wants to share their slice of the pie, I guess.
It's pretty stupid.
There's enough separating us without all the extra added garbage of `my blood's
thicker than yours.'
Jay Collagen, Sasha Graham and Troy Acree at Le Bar Bat 1992
Q: Have you ever been threatened?
A: By vampires? Not really, I mean I get the usual `If I tell anybody
about the interviews, But I have been threatened by vampire hunters. The worst
was from a vampire hunter, I got called and he was talking shit, My first reaction
was to turn real Brooklyn on the guy, I told him I'd meet him and `explain' things
to him in a non-verbal way. He didn't show up. Vampire hunters can deal with the
whole holy water and crucifix thing, but confront them with real physical reality
and they usually crumble. Except in New Mexico. I'm compiling a list of hunters.
They're really scary. They will hurt people if given half a chance.
Q: Give me an example of some of the vampire interview experience?
A: I met a woman vampire at `The Holiday' Bar down on St. Mark's
Place and we
talked for a while. Her checking me out as much as I was checking her out. When
she decided I was alright she suggested we go someplace else and she went out and
hailed a cab. No, actually, I hailed the cab. I told her I didn't have the money
for a cab ride and she pulled out a wad of bills that was larger than my instep
and proceeded to do the interview in the cab. I asked her if she was nervous
talking about vampire things within listening distance of the cabbie and she
said, `Don't worry. He can only hear what I want him to hear.' We drove around
and talked for about a half hour and when we got to the restaurant we got out
and I didn't see her even offer to pay. This may not seem strange to some
people, but he was a NEW YORK Cabbie.
Another vampire I talked to cut the interview short
when she realized
she was getting hungry, blood hungry, I told her not to worry about it,
that I was not in the mood to give blood and she said that she was able
to `convince me.' To make a long story short (too late) she literally
ran away from me yelling, `Stay back or I'll feed' and went running up
Q: Would you become a vampire?
A: I haven't decided yet. As I said, I've had offers.
Q: What would you do as a vampire?
A: I think I'd drink the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff.
A: Yes, but I think your ethics codes forbid you from publishing it here.
Q: Do vampires kill?
A: Most of the vampires I've talked to don't kill. When they do talk
like that I usually tell them that I don't have client/confessor privileges under
the law. I pride myself on my reputation of discretion and I'll dissuade anyone
from giving me information that might get them in trouble.
Q: How do vampires get their blood?
A: It varies depending on the individual. Most have `donors.' But
I've talked to
people who attack, one guy who worked in a hospital. I know of a `Train' that was
set up to provide blood to nervous fledglings. There's the Segani tribe of gypsies
who provide it. I'm waiting for Food Emporium to carry it.
Q: Are there any laws against blood drinking?
A: No law that I can think of. Not among consenting adults.
Q: What do vampires eat?
A: A Chicklet, a fig newton, filet mignon in red sauce. I don't know.
That's up to
Q: Do you believe vampires are immortal?
A: I don't think anyone is immortal. As a matter of fact no one claims
immortal. They claim to have longer life-spans, but the planet itself isn't
immortal. And as far as killing them by staking them through the heart, that's
no big mystery, most people I know would die if you staked them through the heart.
Q: Do vampires have pets?
A: I'm sure lots of vampires have pets. I'm sure lots of people would
like to be
their pets. Again, I've had offers, but the pay sucks.
Q: Does AIDS figure in the writing of Vampyr Theater?
A: It figures very strongly. The AIDS issue was actually one of the
forces being doing Vampyr Theatre. The first three scripts I wrote were AIDS-related.
Even though the first major AIDS script that we put up was the last one, `Dark Night
of the Soul.' The idea that `the blood is the life' becomes tenuous when the blood
becomes increasingly tainted. It's very frightening. It was also a challenge in a
dramatic sense. Starting with the assumption that vampires are `immortal' creatures,
already dead, how can you make a terminal disease, that NO ONE is safe from, let's
face it, and don't let anybody tell you any different, a threat? I basically just
took my own personal vision of hell: death and decay with consciousness, and jammed
on that. The body would decay and not die. The consciousness would never leave,
you'd be a witness to your own destruction. Living worm food. And when it comes
from sustenance itself, the blood, sangue. Which is the crux of it. That's why
I call the theater La Commedia del Sangue, and the production unit Sangue
Ettola, the blood is the life. It's also the death.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
As far as the Vampyr Theatre- Well we just had to cancel a run. The
time we ever canceled. It's just getting up enough money to put it up again.
I'd like to find someone else to produce the theater. I'm a writer. I don't
like the production part. I'm a lousy businessman. So, please someone take
it. I'm begging, produce this thing so I can concentrate on the writing.
Otherwise we'll probably just do one or two a year, Last year we did only
three, you have to realize for the first three years we did it constantly,
I was writing new ones and we were just doing it all the time. No breaks,
I'm sort of on vacation. But I'm busier now than when
the theater's up.
I've been asked to act in a couple things but that's not my gig. Been doing
a lot I mean A LOT of music.
Q: What are you writing now?
Well, right now I'm writing for a bunch of underground mags. Wicked
the Other Side, Delicate Terror, Vampire Archives, Corporal, probably Delirium, whoever
asks me. I'm a writing whore. No better make that slut, since nobody pays, Not in money
anyway. Andre'll get me drunk and put me up for the night in Queens. The future is to
keep writing, I mean I write for my day job, I write for my night job and in my spare
time I write music. But the future is finding out what's out there. It's never as wild
as my imagination. But I'm hopeful.
Q: What's you favorite vampire books or movies?
25. Favorite vampire book? There are so many. Poppy Z Brite's first
Stoker's, Le Fanu's, Ann Rice's first two. Some of the old legends blow most
of the fiction away. I love the original `Dracula' but I prefer `Abbott and
Costello Meet Frankenstein' God there's so many of them. I haven't seen them
all. I want to. Send them to me. I'll send them back, I promise.
Q: Are there any vampires you would be too scared to interview?
A: No. There is no vampire I would never interview. I'll take all comers.
from Katherine Ramsland's article in Vampire Magazine