herald

Wednesday 16 January 2019

Dracula's Bram was notorious prankster

BRAM Stoker, the Dubliner who created Dracula, was a bit of trick or treater himself and enjoyed scaring his fans.

The curator of an exhibition on Bram Stoker has told the Herald how when Stoker was the manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, he used the special effects to play pranks on the audience.

At one of the productions of Dracula, which Stoker oversaw, everyone was given an envelope with their programme at the beginning.

Then at a certain point in the play, they had to open up the envelope.

Black paper wind-up bats sprung from the envelopes and filled the theatre along with loud shrieks of horror and delight from the audience.

Nephew

This is just one of the many insights into the man who created Dracula which visitors to the Life Of Bram Stoker exhibition in the Little Museum on St Stephen's Green will learn.

The exhibition has been hailed by Bram's great grandnephew, Dacre Stoker, as "the single most important collection of material related to Bram that has ever been put on public display".

It tells the story of Stoker's life and how his name lived on through his vampire character.

Curator Simon O'Connor said: "He's a Dubliner, and he is most successful writer we've ever produced in terms of book sales. Dracula's been translated into almost every language."

Indeed Bram Stoker's childhood in Dublin may have had a huge influence on his later work. He was born in Clontarf in 1847, the third of seven children. Due to a childhood illness young Abraham was bed-ridden until the age of seven.

During this time his mother Charlotte entertained him with tales of the supernatural from Irish folklore. In later life, Stoker said these early years were what gave him such a powerful imagination.

Stoker made a full recovery and went on to study at Trinity. The exhibition runs until the end of November.

hnews@herald.ie

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