Is Dracula Giving a Barbie Energy?

“If you like ‘Barbie,’ you’ll like ‘Dracula.’”

This week’s cover is “Freak Yourself Out”—the annual Fall Arts Guide—and it takes a particular focus on the heebie jeebies, both because well, fall, and also because it’s a bit of a horror-palooza for Oregon arts this year. Last spring, Oregon Shakespeare Festival director Nataki Garrett resigned after terrifying racial harassment, then the festival announced a $2.5 million fundraising campaign to save its 2023-24 season altogether. Artists Repertory Theatre straight up suspended its new season, pending further examination of its financial situation, and a predicted winter COVID variant very well might affect all manner of productions.

So yeah, levels of boogedy. But artists art even when life is so on-purpose hard for no good reason. Artists are always gonna art. So let’s get spooky-ooky with it.

This week’s fall arts preview features a feminist revenge fantasy production of Dracula, a film about the murderous “pig lady” from Jackson County, a rock opera billed as “a phantasmagorical, psychosexual science-fiction movie musical masterpiece,” and a Haunted House Hunting Guide.

And today I’m chatting with Portland Center Stage artistic director Marissa Wolf, whose production of playwright Kate Hamill’s Dracula: A Feminist Revenge Fantasy, Really premieres in November. It’s giving Barbie energy, she says.

“If you like Barbie,” Wolf says, “You’ll like Dracula.”

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