ACT I Scene 6
in the arboretum

(VLAD sits in the arboretum.
RENFIELD peers around corner.
VLAD turns, catching him lurking.
RENFIELD drops to knees and approaches VLAD.)

RENFIELD
Are you he who has returned? Are you he who has been resurrected and shall live forever and ever?

VLAD
I am anything you want me to be.

(RENFIELD makes the kow-tow, kneeling with his head to the floor.)

RENFIELD
My soul is tortured.  My mind is not my own. They tie me down, they cloud my mind with their drugs.

VLAD
Perhaps we can help one another.

(RENFIELD, still on his knees, looks up at VLAD.)

RENFIELD
Anything for you.

VLAD
They must have drugs here—heroin or other opiates.  Do you know where they are kept?

RENFIELD
Of course, my master.  They give me morphine each day.  I can save mine for you.  But at night they lock the cabinet and lock me in my cell at night.

VLAD
I will find the keys and set you free.

RENFIELD
You will release me from my cell?!  My lord, my lord!  I knew you’d come!

VLAD
One last thing.  A more intricate request.  Do you have access to the outside?

RENFIELD
They allow me to walk the grounds and tend to the animals.

VLAD
Excellent. I need blood.  Animal blood.  A rat, a cat, a cow or a goat, or a dog.  Even a horse or a pig.  But never, ever human blood.  Here is a red wine bottle to keep it in--it will disguise it.  If you can, bring it while it is still warm.  Now go.

RENFIELD
Anything for you.   You are my master, my Lord.

(RENFIELD rises, take three steps backward, turns and runs off.)

 
ACT I Scene 7


In the kitchen below stairs

(BRIGID is chopping herbs on her butcher block.  She hears a noise behind her, but doesn’t turn.)

BRIGID
Who’s there?

(HOSKINS enters)

HOSKINS
Who else? Like they’d come below stairs to see you.

(HOSKINS looks at the book over BRIGID’s shoulder,)

HOSKINS
What is that? A picture book?

BRIGID
It’s my granny’s cookbook, nosy parker.

HOSKINS
It’s got no writing in it.  Can’t you read?

BRIGID
Never learned how. The priest said it weren’t pure for girls to read.  It could take their innocence.

HOSKINS
Priests and those good little Catholic girls--I’ve heard the stories.

BRIGID
Shut it!  He was a good man. He’d come to granny’s hut every Friday to learn about her healing herbs. He’d read us the Bible, he’d read us the Bard.  I remember the words, though I can’t say I understood them all.

HOSKINS
This is a strange clan.  That young lovely Lucy betrothed to that old fart Harker. And that dark and lovely lass.  She from the wrong side of the blanket?

BRIGID
What a charmer, you are! They found little Perdita as a waif wandering the streets in the Argentine.  Lucy was here after the doctor’s son and wife passed over, so, they raised them as sisters. The doctor’s wife died, having the girls here saved him from a load of misery.  He likes that they both call him father.  Makes him feel young.

HOSKINS
What about Miss Lucy and the old man?

BRIGID
Solicitor Harker? Have you noticed that there are not a lot of young available men about since the Great War took near half a million? Mr. Harker’s a good man who’ll take care of her.  I can only hope that Perdita finds a match soon.

HOSKINS
Who would marry a brown girl?

BRIGID
It pains me to admit that.  She’s of marriage-able age now, and it breaks my heart to think of her as a spinster taking care of her dotty old grand da’.  Slim chance of meeting a fella worthy of her in this barren land.

HOSKINS
And what do you think of the noble gentleman?  Seems nice enough for a toff.  Maybe she could marry him.

BRIGID
Don’t speak of him.

HOSKINS
Why not?

BRIGID
He carries a disease of the soul—the contagious sort.  I’m making a stew to inoculate us against his darkness.

HOSKINS
You Micks are a superstitious race with your fairies and your banshees and your potions.  Well, here, I’ve got a little thriller for you.  Let me sing you this little ditty….

(BRIGID and HOSKINS sin
g “I Fink You T’ink”)

(They smile sweetly at one another, and HOSKINS leans in hoping for a kiss. BRIGID pulls out the carving knife from behind her back and HOSKINS scurries out to her amusement.
 

ACT I Scene 8
In the arboretum

(RENFIELD returns with vials of drugs and looks about expectantly.
RENFIELD with head bowed and on bended knee hands them to VLAD.
VLAD holds up vials to inspect them and smiles.
RENFIELD takes 3 steps backwards, then runs off.)


​ACT I Scene 9
In the arboretum

(VLAD sits in the shadows and prepares a fix of heroin in a syringe.
Two bottle are set beside him, one with red wine and the other with blood.
Lucy peers in and is disappointed for she does not see him.
VLAD’s head rears up and he sniffs the air and realizes she is there.   He hides the syringe in his pocket.
LUCY flops into the cushy divan. She sits and reads a “Photoplay” magazine with Rudolph Valentino on the cover. She gets bored and yawns. She looks up at the roses. She crosses to them and smells them. She smiles ironically and says to herself---)

LUCY
“Gather ye rosebuds, while ye may.”

VLAD
Good evening!

LUCY
Oh!

(VLAD is diffident yet polite, but still averts his eyes from her.)

VLAD
I did not know how to announce myself without startling you.

LUCY
I can’t sleep either.

VLAD
I sleep in the day…my allergy to light.

LUCY
Doesn’t it get lonely?

VLAD
I am accustomed.

LUCY
How sad!

VLAD
Indeed. Melancholia is part of the syndrome.  It is solace to stay here in this delightful garden.

LUCY
Ay, in the very temple of Delight, Veil'd Melancholy has her sovr’an shrine….

VLAD
She dwells with Beauty –

VLAD and LUCY
(In unison)
Beauty that must die.

LUCY
Keats!  I love that one. You’ve read our poets!

VLAD
Long evenings with no one to talk with gives one time to read.

LUCY
And memorize poetry.  I must say, there is nothing like it to woo women.

VLAD
You flatter me.  Would you share some wine?

LUCY
Wine?  In the moonlight? With a Count?  I’ll tell my grandchildren about it.

(VLAD hesitates over which bottle holds the wine and which the blood.)

VLAD
It’s an exceptional vintage from Turkey.  They use a trace of poppy in the mix.

LUCY
Then I should have no trouble getting to sleep.   Two glasses? Were you expecting me?

(VLAD pours and hands her a glass of wine.
LUCY swishes then sniffs the wine.)

LUCY
Delightful.  Such a heavenly bouquet.  It’s almost like perfume.

VLAD
That is the scent of the poppy.

LUCY
Here’s to your recovery.
(LUCY raises her glass to toast him.  She drinks; he only smells the wine.)
You aren’t drinking with me.  Should I be worried?

VLAD
I must be cautious about the liquids I imbibe.  But I love the fragrance.  Sometimes just smelling and imagining what one desires satisfies the craving.

LUCY
I think some people have a talent for smelling.  That’s why I so love it here in the garden.  Come, look--this is a special rose that my father grows.
(VLAD slowly limps over to her to see the rose.)
It’s called the “Nectar of Dionysus”—I think Professor Helsinger named it. It is especially fragrant. Let me pick you one.
(She picks a rose, but pricks her finger and it bleeds. The rose drops.)
Ow!
(She turns to him and holds the finger forth.  Without hesitation he grabs and sucks her finger. She freezes, her eyes widen, mesmerized.  Their eyes meet for the first time.  The he quickly pulls away and holds up his hands in apology.)

VLAD
Oh, my, I have embarrassed myself and offended you.  It is a superstition in my country never to let a drop of blood fall to the ground.  We believe that the juices of the mouth protect against spirits leaving the body.  I am so sorry.  Let me withdraw.
(VLAD moves to leave.)
Wait!  No, it’s all right.  Your impulsiveness just startled me.
(Pause.)
Sit with me.  Here in the moonlight.    You must teach me some steps of the tango as they really do it.  I know you know it.  What you said before was for my father, wasn’t it?

VLAD
Yes, of course.  One cannot spend time in the Argentine without being drawn into it.  But it is not a proper dance for young English ladies!  This is a dance from the bars and brothels and slums.

LUCY
But please, please, teach me!  Promise you will—when father’s not about?

VLAD
Certainly.  If I gain strength while I am here, I will share many things with you.

LUCY
Silly of me to prick my finger on a thorn. Doesn’t some fairy tale begin like that?
(VLAD and LUCY’s eyes meet. There is silence as electricity courses between them.
From this point on, there is continual eye contact, and she is enraptured.)
LUCY ponders his features.)
You are fascinating.  Your skin is so pale.

VLAD
Recessive genes. Nobles marrying nobles with the same grandmother.

LUCY
You seem to have a glow rather than the pallor you had when you arrived.

VLAD
Most likely from your company.
(LUCY pauses, as she ponders his features.)
Pardon, it’s just that your eyes…

VLAD
If you find them pleasing, then I am flattered.
(Awkward pause. VLAD looks away.)
May I ask if…..

LUCY
Yes?

VLAD
No, it is too forward.

LUCY
No please, ask anything.  My life is an open book.  Regrettably, a very small volume.

VLAD
Mr. Harker?

LUCY
Oh, dear.  Yes, we’re engaged.  I’m embarrassed.  Flirting with a stranger in a garden in the moonlight.  And my father’s patient….and I’m to be married soon.  I’m such a sinner.

VLAD
Yes, I was aware.
(VLAD looks at LUCY and pauses.)
Do you love with him?

LUCY
Well, yes, of course, I love him.

VLAD
Of course you do.  Again, apologies.  A confusion with the language.  Do you, how do you phrase it “make love”?  Are you waiting until you are married to consummate?

LUCY
I…I… are you asking if I am a virgin?

VLAD
I’m sorry, it was most improper.

LUCY
Yes. Yes.  I am.  Inexperienced, I fear.  I should be embarrassed.  But I’m not.  Why am I so forward and bold with you?

VLAD
Perhaps it is because I am so weak.
(Pause).
It was you who welcomed me when I arrived. And invited me in

LUCY
Yes, I did.
(Pause.)
Does my purity appeal to you?  Please do not misunderstand what I am about to do, but I will regret it the rest of my life if I don’t.
(LUCY kisses VLAD.)

LUCY
It is like I’m in a fairy tale, or a dream.

(VLAD touches her cheek, then pushes LUCY gently and gestures for her to go.)

VLAD
Then go and dream. I fear that if you stay here longer I will not be able to refrain from doing what would displease your fiancé and betray your father’s hospitality.  And tomorrow you might regret.

LUCY
I will go.
(Lucy begins to exit, stops, turns.)
But I want to stay.  Since everyone is asleep, perhaps now would be a good time to teach me how to dance the forbidden tango.

VLAD
It would not be proper…

LUCY
Oh, pssh! The Victrola has the music cued up.  I’ll keep it low so we won’t wake the others.
(LUCY goes to the Victrola and cranks it up.)
Then she pulls VLAD to his feet as she did Jonathan in Act 1. ).
Come, you must show me the forbidden tango.


(VLAD resists.)

VLAD
This is not wise.  The tango…the tango looses the beast within.

LUCY
Dance with me.  Then I’ll leave you alone.

(VLAD looks out above the audience.
A sad yet resigned look crosses his faces as he makes his fateful decision. He rises to full height, tosses aside the cane, gathers her close to him.)

(VLAD sings
 “Descend On You”

(As he sings, they dance without moving, him touching her neck, she bending backward, wrapping her leg around his, etc.)

(VLAD spins Lucy onto the sofa)

VLAD
I warned you.  I fear you have loosed the beast.

LUCY
Devour me…please.

VLAD
Would you like to experience joy beyond belief?

LUCY
I long for it.

(He kisses her neck and she writhes in excitement.)

VLAD
Would you like more?

LUCY
Yes.

MUSICAL UNDERSCORE #1   
(1:20 - plays through the action below; continue to read while it plays or skip)


VLAD
I have something for you…for us to share.
(He reaches into his pocket and withdraws the prepared “fix” that he had hidden when she interrupted him.)
Watch me while I perform the ritual…
(He inserts the needle into the vein of his arm and injects just a bit.)
I give myself a just a bit of the elixir of the poppy.
(Lucy watches entranced and wide-eyed.  Vlad inhales and shudders ecstatically.  Lucy’s eyes grow wider at his ecstasy.)
I do not take it all.  I save some for you.  But first I mix it with my blood.
(He draws blood back into the syringe.)
Now I will share it with you…so we will be joined together in blood.
(He feels in the crook of her arm to find a vein He wraps his fingers around her upper arm and constricts the vein.)
There will be a pinch, then unutterable ecstasy, I promise.
(He inserts the needle into her vein.)
Now, be still, and fall into delight.
(She nods her compliance.
He injects her slowly with his blood.  She shudders orgasmically.
Vlad withdraws the needle and ravenously sucks at the injection point in her arm.)

(Unseen by VLAD, RENFIELD peers around the corner and is horrified.)

ACT I Scene 10
In the drawing room

(SEWARD sips tea, HARKER plays the piano.
HELSINGER comes in with a hangover.
BRIGID enters carrying a glass of green liquid.)

BRIGID
Pardon, sir.  It’s Miss Lucy. She won’t eat…she seems wan and distracted.  She slept on the divan in the arboretum last night.  I can’t get her up to bed.

SEWARD
Sounds as if she has contracted something?

HELSINGER
You all feel well enough, though, don’t you?  Perdita seems well.

HARKER
I’m going to her

SEWARD
I’ll bring my bag.

HELSINGER
Go. I am on your heels.

(SEWARD and HARKER exit.)

(Through the ensuing conversation, BRIGID pours some whisky into the glass and take a vial of green liquid from her pocket and pours it into the glass. She gives it to HELSINGER who, recoils from the foul smell but drinks it down with a revivifying result.)

HELSINGER
Bless you!  Whatever this gruesome solution is, it always does the trick.  Bridey, my lovely, what do you think may be the cause of Lucy’s malaise?

BRIGID
How would I know, Professor? You’re the doctor.

HELSINGER
Ah, but my intuition is far below that of a Celtic woman.

BRIGID
Begorrah!  A man who acknowledges that a woman may know more than himself! I’ll apply to the Holy Father in Rome to make this a day of remembrance!

HELSINGER
Felt good to get that out, didn’t it.

BRIGID
Oh, you’ll never know, sir.
(They laugh.)
Hoskins says women have smaller brains, you know.

HELSINGER
Yet you’re fond of him.

BRIGID
He’s an oaf, sir.  Worse, a Cockney oaf.  But lovable.

HELSINGER
Lovable, eh?

BRIGID
In the same way one might love a badly trained bull pup, sir.

HELSINGER
Since you see things that we cannot—I mean from that advantage that servants have—truly do tell me what troubles Lucy?

BRIGID
We both know, don’t we, sir?  It’s the dark man.  The Count.

HELSINGER
Why the Count?

BRIGID
He carries his illness with him.  He doesn’t drink.  He doesn’t eat.  Not a thing I’ve put in front of him.

HELSINGER
You are an insightful woman.  And you take care of us all.

BRIGID
I like you, sir.  Always have.  I don’t care what they say about you.

HELSINGER
And I drink.

BRIGID
A tradition among my people.

HELSINGER
What should we do?

BRIGID
Keep him away from Miss Perdita.

HELSINGER
It’s difficult to dictate to Miss Perdita.

(HARKER and SEWARD enter.
(BRIGID takes HELSINGER’S glass and exits.)

HARKER
(To SEWARD as they enter) She is so distracted, Doctor, and pale and wan. What could have happened?

HELSINGER
Mortimer, what is your diagnosis?

SEWARD
Perhaps her monthly time.  Though it would be unusual.

HELSINGER
How thoroughly did you examine her?

SEWARD
I took her vitals.  Pulse, eyes, fingernails, pressure, temperature.

HELSINGER
Did you examine her body?

SEWARD
Sir, she is my daughter. Leviticus 18, “The nakedness of thy daughter thou shalt not uncover.”

HELSINGER
Respectfully, my friend, those antiquated proscriptions put your daughter’s life in peril!  We must strip her naked and examine every inch of her!

SEWARD
How dare you, sir!

HELSINGER
I cherish everyone in this home, and want to save her life—and that is how I dare.

HARKER
Gentlemen!  Do what you must!

HELSINGER
Then it’s decided.

(RENFIELD runs in, fleeing HOSKINS’ grasp.)

HOSKINS
Come back here, you lunatic!

(RENFIELD drops to his knees DC.)

RENFIELD
Free, free, freeeee!  Soon I’ll be free!

HELSINGER
Wait, Hoskins, let me see if I can calm him.

RENFIELD
Hare and Hounds!  Hare and Hounds!

(RENFIELD climbs up onto the piano bench.)

Who’s the hare and who’s the hound?

HELSINGER
Renfield, mein Freund, I just had my piano bench repaired.  Could I assist you in your descent?

(HELSINGER offers RENFIELD his hand.
RENFIELD accepts, take his hand as though he is a proper lady being helped by a gentleman, and steps down.
RENFIELD sits in an easy chair.)

Perhaps a drink?

RENFIELD
A drink?  A sip?  A sup?  A furry kitten?  A newborn pup?  A dry martini, a cool gin rickey?
(HELSINGER hands RENFIELD a drink.)
A nice warm tumbler of the ol’ red sticky?
(RENFIELD gulps it down then impudently tosses the glass back at HELSINGER.)

HELSINGER
What the hell is up mit du?

RENFIELD
(RENFIELD leaps from the chair and in HELSINGER’S face shouts:
Küssen Sie meinen Arsch, Professor!
(RENFIELD falls to his knees and to the heavens proclaims:
Das Blut ist das Leben!
(During the ensuing dialogue, RENFIELD chews on his fist and pulls down at the skin of his face.)

HELSINGER
Mein Gott!  Does Renfield speak German?

SEWARD
By no means. He was born in the village.

HOSKINS
Never been out of the county.  From good English stock.

HARKER
What did he say?

HELSINGER
He told me to kiss his arse.

HARKER
Blut.  He said blut.  That’s the word for blood.

HELSINGER
He said, “The blood is the life.”

(Behind HELSINGER’s back, RENFIELD crawls over to the piano bench and climbs up on it.)

SEWARD
Deuteronomy 12:23. What riddle is this?

HELSINGER
Get off my piano, verrückter Mann!

RENFIELD
You think that I’m a crazy man?  A little tune so you’ll understand!
(From atop the bench, RENFIELD sings 
“Renfield’s Taunt”)
(HOSKINS drags RENFIELD off.)


SEWARD
Hoskins, get him back to the cell, and this time shackle him in irons. Twenty-four hour guard on him.

(SEWARD begins to exit.)

HELSINGER
Have we yet located your new patient?  I think perhaps that was who Renfield was singing about.

SEWARD
How confounding! I don’t understand anything that is happening.  I’m going up to do a more thorough examination of Lucy—as you insist.   Are you coming?

HELSINGER
Indulge me—it would help if I might speak with Harker privately. We will be hard on your heels.

SEWARD
Be quick about it!

(SEWARD exits.)

HARKER
What is so important to detain me, sir?

HELSINGER
I have a most intimate question for you. It may be the key to Lucy’s malaise.

HARKER
Ask away, and quickly, too.

HELSINGER
How far has your courtship with Lucy progressed--carnally?

HARKER
I beg your pardon?

HELSINGER
Have you had intercourse?

HARKER
This betrays every boundary—

HELSINGER
I admit it is most improper. Assist me in playing detective to rescue your beloved.  Is Lucy a virgin?

HARKER
We have had minor intimacies which are common to those betrothed.

HELSINGER
… but no intromission?
(HARKER looks puzzled, not familiar with the term.)
Consummation?Penetration? 

HARKER
Never.  I am a gentleman.

HELSINGER
I am so grateful.  This given me another clue to the mystery.  Now, let’s go to her!

(HELSINGER and HARKER exit quickly and with purpose.)

(EXIT MUSIC plays them off as lights fade.)



INTERMISSION 


Continue to Act II, Scenes 1-6








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