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A Vampire Play

by Friedhelm Schneidewind and Ulrike Schneidewind 
inspired by the Story of the same Name by Sheridan LeFanu.

A production by Studio-Theatre Saarbruecken (Germany) 
in thirteen scenes and a prologue.

»Now I live through your warmth and life, but you will die – how sweet to die for me and because of me. 
I can do nothing to change it. Even as I feed on you, so will you feed on others and come to know the ecstasy of the cruelty that is love. I live in you and you must die for me. I love you, terribly and eternally.«
The ancient, universal mythological themes of the revenant and the bloodsucker are drawn together in eighteenth-century Europe as the myth of the vampire. The idea of the revenant draws on the ancient yearning of humanity for immortality and on the awareness that this can be attained, if at all, only through the experience of human frailty and through our common fear in the face of that which awaits us after death. It was especially widespread in those countries where orthodox Christianity predominated.
The bloodsucker is an image of the inequality of human relationships, where one is all too easily sucked dry and used up by the other. This is symbolised by the loss of the precious blood, venerated since time began as the elixir of life.
This image has also been interpreted politically, from the time of Voltaire and Marx to the present day. Through literature and film the modern vampire, the »bloodsucking revenant«, has found its most popular interpretation mainly under its erotic aspect.
Beside Dracula, Carmilla is the most celebrated vampire story in literature and film. The history of the lesbian vampire has been filmed at least four times: »Vampyr - the dream of Allan Gray« (1931); »...to die of pleasure« (1960); »The tomb of the Vampire« (1970) and »Carmilla« (1989). Many other films also draw on the theme of the story.

1997 was the »Year of the Vampire«: It is the centenary of the novel Dracula, the 125th anniversary of the publication of Carmilla and marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula.

The drama Carmilla, freely adapted from the story by Sheridan Le Fanu, was staged in Germany and other European countries since April 1994 until 2000, in September 1996 there was a tour through Rumania (Transsilvania). Ulrike Schneidewind was Carmilla (= Mircalla von Karnstein), Friedhelm Schneidewind played several roles.

You find the complete text of the play in the book »Carmilla« with photos of the original production, extracts from the story (in English), as well as other vampire legends and literary references: »Carmilla« by Friedhelm and Ulrike Schneidewind (in German), obtainable from booksellers or through the authors:

Friedhelm Schneidewind
Schlossgasse 51
69502 Hemsbach/Germany
phone +49 6201 4709292
fax +49 6201 4709293
E-Mail: redaktion@carmilla.de