As part of the festival there were a number of street performances two of which I was really impressed with, in fact I enjoyed them so much that I went back to see them twice. The first, entitled Countess Dracula, was performed in Barnardo Square beside City Hall, by the fantastic ‘Angels of the Odd‘. Featuring the stunning Lucy Rhinehart and was narrated by the brilliant Paddy Walsh, whom played the part of the tortured Bram Stoker. It recounted an imaginary connection between Stoker and the Blood Countess Erzebet Bathory, whom appears to him in a sleepless dream state. Here the countess acts as muse and inspiration for Stoker to weave the myth of Dracula. As the performance progresses, Stoker realizes that in order to finish his novel he must rid himself of his demon muse in the same way that Bathory came to an end in real life. By being bricked into her room. I found the performance to be a novel mix between two epic Vampire tales. And the haunting background music played on a banjo only added to the mood. If you ever get a chance to see Angels of the Odd perform, I would highly recommend that you do so.
Whilst many will be familiar with Stoker at some level or his Gothic Vampire novel Dracula, you may or may not have heard about Erzebet Bathory. She was a Hungarian Noblewoman whom was said to have been the most notorious female serial killer in Europe. Renowned for bathing in the blood of her victims, she is often referred to as the ‘Blood Countess’, of ‘Countess Dracula’, Whilst for many years her story was recounted with fear, it is highly unlikely that she had any connection to Vampirism. After her husbands death she was accused of the torture and murder of over 650 victims. These charges have become suspicious over the years for a number of reasons. Firstly she was a protestant, which would not have been popular at the time, also she was a woman whom managed an extremely valuable estate, and as it turns out, the local king owed her late husband a large sum of money which he was unable to repay. Due to Bathory’s noble status, she was never tried or convicted for the alleged crimes but was imprisoned upon her arrest in December 1610 within Csejte Castle, in modern day Slovakia where she remained immured in a set of rooms until her death four years later.