Written by Kelleen Conway Blanchard
Directed by Bret Fetzer
Oct 24-Nov 22
Thurs-Sat at 8pm | Mon, Nov 10 industry night
All Thurs PWYC
$20 general/$18 advance tickets
$12 senior, military, TPS / $5 student
The life of Countess Elizabeth Bathory- the historical noblewoman accused of bathing in young girl’s blood so she could live forever young becomes a supernatural tale both creepy and creepily funny in the hands of the playwright of “Kittens in a Cage” & “The Underneath”.
Kelleen Conway Blanchard lends her unique voice to the story of Elizabeth Bathory, the Hungarian Countess fabled to be one of the inspirations behind vampire lore. Bathory is rumored to have killed anywhere from 60 to 600 young woman and bathed in their blood to preserve her youth.
This fictional account follows the countess from her happy marriage to the fierce warrior Ferenc to her conviction and death bricked up within the walls of her castle. Along the way it explores her possible motivations for the sadistic murders of which she stands accused.
Landing solidly on the dark side of dark comedy, Blood Countess still employs plenty of Kelleen Conway Blanchard’s trademark humor and linguistic gymnastics. This historical horror story is filled with dead birds, headless soldiers, eel pies, and pailfulls of blood.
Blood Countess is directed by Bret Fetzer, and features original songs by Rick Miller, reuniting the team behind Gregory-nominated hit Kittens in a Cage.
Terri Weagant makes her Annex debut as Elizabeth. Weagant has appeared on stages big and small from Seattle Shakespeare Company and Book-It Repertory Theatre, to Theater Shmeater and upstart crow collective. Supporting Weagant is a group of wonderful local talent including Gregory-nominated Mary Murfin Bayley, Blanchard veterans James Weidman and Erin Stewart, and retuning Annex actors Ashlen Hodge, Martyn G Krouse and Sarah Winsor.
“Blanchard has written a gothic comedy that resists the temptation of camp. Instead, she lands startling punches with vivid and unexpected language… The two leads make grimly charming predators, bored by and superior to everything except morts, both petit and grand. Weidman brings a refreshingly abstracted, understated moodiness to a role that some actors would take as an excuse to chew up the scenery, while Weagant gives a positively sociopathic performance, fully unable to understand—and, in the end, not really caring—why other people don’t find chopping off people’s hands and branding the servant girls with hot coins diverting.” – The Stranger
“It would be easy to make the argument that Kelleen Conway Blanchard’s new play, ‘Blood Countess’ is a natural selection for October, with its Halloween balance of the horrific and the bizarre, its combination of cartoonish terror and god-awful blood lust. Blanchard, however, never lets a first impression become the content of her plays. As in ‘Kittens in a Cage’ and ‘The Underneath’ the initial triteness of commonplace tropes provide an easily accessible gateway to well-developed and compelling characters dealing with the absurdity of their situations with genuine emotion and real internal conflict. There are plenty of laughs throughout ‘Blood Countess’ but we never lose sight of the fact that these uncommon people are dealing with exactly the same challenges that we deal with daily, and that caring about their struggles is at least as rewarding as the pure entertainment of the evening…This is real drama. And it works.” – Seattle Actor
“…a gleefully fractured history tale that’s part wickedly black comedy, part demented love story and part scathing prod at the sexual and religious climate of the era… …with a sly performance as the bloodlust-consumed countess […] Weagant keeps the boiling passion simmering beneath the surface…” – Seattle Times
“Blood Countess is a lot of fun. As the countess, Terri Weagant’s unconventional looks and excellent expressive range are riveting… two other characters in her entourage are far more freaky: a deranged, id-like provocateur named Fitzco, played with nearly boundless perversity by Erin Stewart; and a priest, played with chilling, sexualized placidity (and heavy eye makeup) by Martyn G. Krouse. Bathory’s violence-loving libertine husband Ferenc (James Weidman) is another unctuous delight. In Bathory’s grim castle (a simple, black-walled, portrait-adorned set by Susannah Anderson), victims progress from birds to a parade of neighborhood girls (all winningly portrayed by Sarah Winsor)… canny performances and a wacky, Wikipedia-confirmed bite of Hungarian history make the Bathory vein a worthwhile draught.” – Seattle Weekly
“The mayhem is directed by Bret Fetzer as he uses Annex’s usual minimal technical accessories to exceed their low monetary value and provide great stagecraft at the same time. With Ian Johnston’s support for set design, Gwyn Skone providing inventive creepy lighting, super costuming and wigging from Samantha Armitage (probably on a miniscule budget), and sound by Kyle Thompson, the overall effect is a very sophisticated production… The play could be seen as a ‘Halloween’ event at this time of year, but that downplays its execution, cast and the beautiful poetry of the script. Blanchard seems to love creepy, but also demonstrates that she loves language more. Go get your fright on and also experience a multi-layered biography.” – Miryam Gordon
|Mary Murfin Bayley
|Ferenc & The Inspector
|Martyn G. Krouse
|Kelleen Conway Blanchard
|Bret Fetzer & Ian Johnston
|Fantasia Oslund & Carmen Olmedo
|Catherine Blake Smith