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Playwriting | Theatre and Performance Studies


Kaarin Johnston


Synopsis: Renfield is brought unwillingly to an asylum and is placed under the care of Dr. Seward. Renfield is a cunning and volitile madman who exhibits several unusual characteristics. He hides from the light of the sun and rejects food. The only nourishment he allows himself is to sip a cup of tea while sitting on the window sill.

Although the character of Renfield appears in Bram StokerÕs Dracula as the vampireÕs lackey, this play is not a retelling of StokerÕs story. There is no vampire lurking outside and gently rapping on the window, yet Renfield is haunted all the same. Renfield is troubled by books, memoires, soulls and most importantly ghosts.

In three successive scenes, these ghosts manifest themselves through a Fly, a Spider, and a Cat. These three are portrayed as Victorian women carrying toy-like puppets who in turn tease, chastise, and dominate him. Their actions are coupled with Dr. SewardÕs persistent attempts to understand his patient by pushing and probing his fears. Renfield struggles inside this maelstrom until he can no longer endure it and must try to find a way out.

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