(Photo by Mike Dunn)
The Renaissance Theatre Company in Orlando is back for the third year with its crowd-pleasing, immersive vampire experience, “Nosferatu,” playing on select nights now through Nov. 5.
Created by show director Donald Rupe and choreographer Kathleen Wessel, “Nosferatu” is loosely based on Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel “Dracula” and the classic 1922 film of the same name. But you can expect to see influences in the show from vampire mythology all across pop culture.
“We don’t follow any one story,” Rupe says. “We get inspiration from a lot of different vampire lore, movies and TV. We try to make references that fans might get even if they’re not completely obvious to everybody but there isn’t just one story that we follow.”
This year’s story doesn’t just borrow from film and television, Rupe says. They looked into other cultures and where vampires supposedly come from and took it from there. There’s even a biblical storyline about Lilith, who some say was Adam’s first wife.
“‘Nosferatu’ is where the vampires roam,” the show’s synopsis reads. “Join us in the place where the rules of space and time do not exist; where the Choosing Ceremony decides the newest member of our Coven; where the Undead roam.”
This year’s show features 30 cast members leading the audience through 10 spaces with eerie rooms and dark corners to play out scary — and sexy — scenes over the course of the show’s 90 minutes, and if you were lucky enough to get into one of the sold-out shows from the past two years, this re-vamped show is an all-new experience from the previous iterations.
“The structure is similar in that the audience gets to go to different rooms,” Rupe says. “But all of the spaces are different. The stories are different. Even the way that we tell the story is different.”
Rupe describes “Nosferatu” as a “creepy, sexy vampire experience,” saying “it’s definitely more immersive than a regular theater experience and more intricate than a haunted house.”
(Photos by Mike Dunn)
“Each performer as their own track,” he says. “So you could pick who you consider ‘the lead’ of the show and follow that character or pick what might typically be called a supporting role and follow that character from scene to scene and see their perspective, and see what their experiences are.
“It’s not linear in structure,” he continues. “I don’t love to give too much away because the surprise is half of the experience, but there are large sections of the show that everyone in the audience sees together.”
Roughly 30 minutes of the show is the audience wandering on their own and following characters, Rupe adds. The other 60 minutes you are told exactly where to be. He says that’s one way that this year’s show is actually different from years past.
Something else new to this year’s show is the use of original music by Matt Lynx and Jason M. Bailey, which Rupe calls “very cinematic.”
A popular part of the show from previous years was VBar, the sexy nightclub where thirsty vampires meet their prey. This year, VBar has been split off into a separate all-new immersive experience.
VBar opens each participating night after both performances of “Nosferatu.”
“People who see the second show can just stay for VBar, there’s one space in the show that becomes the bar,” Rupe says. “And people who see the earlier show can come back. We have a tent set up outside with food trucks and drinks, so they can see their show and then wait 90 minutes, and people have been doing that. It’s a great space set up, so they just chill out there, there’s music playing, it’s kind of a chill vibe.”
“Nosferatu” plays on select nights through Nov. 5 with two shows each night, starting at 7 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. VBar opens at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 each to “Nosferatu,” $20 in enter VBar and $66 for both. The VIP Experience is available for $120 and includes reserved seating during the show, two cocktails, light hors d’oeuvres and admission into VBar.
For more information and to purchase tickets, go to RenTheatre.com/Nosferatu.