By BEN R. WILLIAMS
Thank you so much for submitting your wonderful adaptation! Our theatre simply cannot wait to showcase this fantastic take on such a classic work!
However, we’ve had some controversy with some of our recent productions, and we’ve decided that it’s time to make a few changes as a theatre company. While the purpose of art is to challenge, we feel that there are obviously limits. We don’t want to make our patrons uncomfortable.
With that in mind, we recently assembled a focus group to vet our scripts, and the 47 members of the group found a few issues with your piece that they would like you to address before we move forward with a production.
First things first, the tone of your piece is problematic. You probably didn’t intend this, but there’s a certain horrific tone that runs throughout the script. Several of the members of the focus group picked up on this, and we just feel that the world is scary enough right now. People aren’t going to want to come to the theatre to experience MORE horror.
In that same vein, do we really need the supernatural elements? This enters into some troubling territory, especially considering that several members of our focus group have strong religious beliefs. I think you can easily convey the intended message while keeping the play grounded in realism.
Next, there’s an undercurrent of unusual sexuality that runs through the script, particularly between your villain and several of the female characters. This needs to be excised completely. For one thing, your script does NOT pass the Bechdel Test, and this undercurrent only makes it worse. Two, children may be in the audience, and we feel strongly that all pieces of art should be completely safe for even the youngest child (the runaway success of our all-audiences adaptation of A Clockwork Orange should be all the evidence you need).
Speaking of which, the level of violence in this piece needs to be toned down considerably. Why does there need to be so much blood? Of particular concern is the scene where a character — ostensibly an ally to the protagonist — decapitates three women! This is absurdly problematic and all the blood and gore needs to be removed entirely.
I realize this next suggestion may seem extreme, but just bear with me: do we really NEED the villain? I think there’s a wonderful, life-affirming story buried somewhere in this play, and frankly, all your antagonist does is get in the way. Excise him completely and you’ll have a much better script.
To summarize: we’re going to need you to remove the horror elements, the supernatural elements, the sexuality, the violence, and the villain. Once you do all that, I think this production of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is going to be a runaway success!