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Crystal City’s Synetic Theater debuting a “bloody” adaptation of Dracula next month

Dracula returns to Synetic Theater in Crystal City next month (photo courtesy of Synetic Theater)

Just in time for the spooky season, Crystal City’s Synetic Theater is debuting a “bloody” adaptation of Dracula.

The two-decade-old, local non-profit theater is bringing one of the world’s most famous horror stories to its stage next month, with shows starting on October 13. The show is set to run Thursday through Sunday through Nov. 6.

A special Halloween performance on Monday, Oct. 31 is planned. Additionally, on Oct. 28, Synetic is hosting its annual Halloween party Vampire Ball, which will include a performance of Dracula plus food, dancing, physical theater, and themed cocktails.

Located inside the Crystal City Shops near the Metro station, Synetic Theater first opened in the neighborhood in 2010 after previously making its home in Rosslyn. It’s known for its physical and nearly wordless theater.

This adaptation of Dracula will adhere to Synetic’s well-known style, something co-founder and the show’s director Paata Tsikurishvili believes will help tell the 125-year-old story of the “vicious vampire.”

“With minimal dialogue in our storytelling, this production relies heavily on visuals, music, physicality, and most importantly, audience interpretation,” Tsikurishvili told ARLnow about what makes their version of Dracula unique. “Whether it’s Shakespeare or Stoker, Synetic provides room for audiences to find their own meaning in our productions.”

This will be the third time that Synetic Theater has adapted Dracula, with previous performances in 2005 and 2009, and will include a number of actors reprising their roles, including Dan Istrate as Count Dracula.

Tsikurishvili said the 2022 version will have “significant updates to the costumes, choreography, and set design” but the set will continue to be “very minimalist” to allow “audiences to fully focus on the actors, movement, and story.”

It’s been something of a rough go for the venerable physical theater company over the past few years.

In late 2018, Synetic nearly lost its lease at 1800 S. Bell Street, but building owner JBG Smith backtracked and agreed to allow Synetic to stay in the building until at least the end of this year. The pandemic happened just over a year later, forcing Synetic to shut down performances. It was only late last summer when the theater got back into its space and started doing regular performances again.

With all that is happening in the world today, Tsikurishvili told ARLnow that showcasing the story of Dracula now is “very fitting.”

“When you think about the moral of Stoker’s story — it’s about confronting darkness, but not alone,” he said. “In this season and in this show, we explore otherness and what it takes to push differences aside and work together against evil.”

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