Connect with us


Blood work: Giles Davies is Jobsite’s ‘Dracula’

Bill DeYoung



Confronted by Dr. Van Helsing (Katrina Stevenson), Dracula (Giles Davies) takes offense. Photos: Ned Averill-Snell.

The Steven Dietz adaptation of Bram Stoker’s gothic chiller Dracula has become the go-to stage version of the vampire saga for theaters across America. Unlike many big-screen re-imaginings, this Dracula retains the sexual underpinnings, the grim hopelessness and the stink of human decay that Stoker wove into his unsettling novel.

Jobsite Theater, in Tampa’s Straz Center for the Performing Arts, is two productions into a unique season of “greatest hits,” shows that performed spectacularly for the company in the past, and are being re-mounted in hopes of luring back audiences in pre-Covid-era numbers.

The Dietz Dracula was a massive hit for Jobsite in 2001 – it was the then-young company’s first major success – which meant that bringing the Transylvanian tale back, in an all-new production – was something of a no-brainer.

Dracula, in a manner of speaking, was in Jobsite’s blood.

It also made sense to cast Giles Davies in the title role. Davies, the Welsh/English actor who arrived in the bay area in 2007, is something of a “go-to” himself – he’s one of Jobsite’s most often-cast professionals, particularly in Shakespeare plays and, because he’s tall, angular and intense, creep-fests like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus.

Although he was not here when Jobsite first produced the show, Davies is Dracula in the new Dracula.

As an itinerant actor who goes where the work is, he’s mounted the Count in three other productions of the Dietz adaptation.

“When you’re younger, you can just kind of rely on your sexiness,” Davies laughs. This time around, “I had to develop a different vocabulary, a level of comfort that he has, that playing a human character you’d never have the opportunity to play. Because he knows he’s holding all the cards. Or at least he thinks he does.

“The playwright is smart enough to give him these one-liners that he can just put out, that illuminate that kind of confidence that he has. I find the physicality now, the fine tuning of that physicality, his fluidity.

“Because I’ve got to find a way, with my physical body, to suggest that this entity is so much more than just his physical body. So that he can come across as supernatural. So that he has an awareness of everything around him. I find it very fascinating.”

Davies’ Dracula slinks between Stoker’s other well-known characters, including the hapless Jonathan Harker and his fiancé Mina, the flirtatious Lucy and the tenacious vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing.

Then there’s Renfield, the bug-eating, bat-crazy asylum resident who does the Count’s evil bidding.

Davies has learned, through experience, that working in such an effects-heavy show can tax an actor’s concentration.

“There are so many things that can go wrong, I have discovered, so that there’s not a whole lot of time to enjoy the playing of it,” he confesses. “Because you’re too busy working and fixing all the things that could potentially go wrong. Nothing would sink a production of Dracula than if Dracula was anything but cool.”

Between cool and creepy, he says, “there’s a very fine line.

“You’ve got this cape that’s attached to perhaps the most uncool part of your body, being your neck. So if anything gets caught on that cape, you’re absolutely immobilized. And you’ve got to crawl around on beds with ladies, and you’ve got this thing dangling around your feet, so you’ve just got to know where everything is, all of the fabrics, at any point in time. As well as your blood packs and your teeth, and so on and so forth.”

Dracula’s accent, he explains, is based on classic Romanian. “But as with other dialects you have to theatricalize it. Otherwise there are certain words that the audience isn’t going to understand. For example, the word ‘memory’ would be ‘mammary.’ But of course you can’t talk about a mammary gland. People aren’t going to know what you’re talking about. ‘Envy’ would be ‘anvy.’ You just have to make those subtle changes so that the audience can understand you.”

As a well-seasoned Shakespearean, Davies is excited to announce that he has the title role in Hamlet, the next show on the Jobsite menu board (look for a sly nod to the Great Dane during the Dracula curtain call).

Between now and Nov. 13, though, he’s sinking his teeth into Dracula.

“I really love telling a good ghost story,” Davies says. “I created a solo show where I took cuttings from Edgar Allen Poe works, and I traveled with that for a while. And there was another piece called Turgid Tales of Turmoil, Terror and Tortured Souls – a series of horror stories and ghost stories through human history, through numerous different cultures.

“I’ve had the privilege and the opportunity to have work over these Halloween months. That’s pretty much when I’m at my busiest. If I can’t find any other work, I can at least always find something for the mid-fall.”

For more information, and tickets, click here.











Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By posting a comment, I have read, understand and agree to the Posting Guidelines.

The St. Pete Catalyst

The Catalyst honors its name by aggregating & curating the sparks that propel the St Pete engine.  It is a modern news platform, powered by community sourced content and augmented with directed coverage.  Bring your news, your perspective and your spark to the St Pete Catalyst and take your seat at the table.

Email us:

Subscribe for Free

Share with friend

Enter the details of the person you want to share this article with.