Text and Direction: Bence Mezei
Performed by: Ida Hellsten
Light: Leon Curk
Rehearsal Assistant: Nohemi Barriuso
Production Support: Barbara Pocek, Glej Theater Co-production: Glej Theater
Support: Municipality of Ljubljana

DRACULA AND THE GIRL AND THE GLOOMY FOREST is an outrageous ode written on the erratic nature of art making. It is an energetic solo performance of an epic size, magnifying the ordinary, the ups and downs of every days, in which it was created.

In this performance, Bence Mezei explores and interweaves the popular formats of contemporary dance, horror film, musical theater and epic poetry, to generate a poetic and at the same time ridiculous narrative about the romantic but often horrifying landscape stretching before the individual at work. Through the restrictions of the narrative form, horror genre, fairy tale and musical theater, the performance tells the turbulent tale of the lonesome Dracula.

Dracula is a bloodthirsty vampire who, as a wannabe playwright, sets on a journey to pitch his script and find friends in the Town’s Theater. As his path leads through the Gloomy Forest, where the Headless Ghost, – a suicidal actor, who just couldn’t continue – haunts, he meets the disillusioned Girl, an ex-dancer, working at a film production. Here begins a tale of their quest for artistic function, happiness and love, their struggles with work and life, their encounter and ultimate death.

Drawing the line somewhere between the trivial and genuine, amateur and professional, the performance records the struggles of everyday life and work, and through a forest of inner conflicts – expectations, dreams, doubts and wishes, – it searches for the possibilities of a release: a way out of the crisis.

BENCE MEZEI is a dancer, performer and theater maker based in Budapest, Hungary and Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is a member of the American performance group Nature Theater of Oklahoma and has performed with them in Karoline und Kasimir: Noli Me Tangere, Burt Turrido. An Opera, No President (A Story Ballet of Enlightenment in Two Immoral Acts) and Pursuit of Happiness.
Bence has written, choreographed and directed his own pieces in collaboration with both students and professionals, creating performances situated between dance and theater. Including UTOPIANOW (in search for a beautiful life), Odyssey Variations – Episode One: Athena’s play, Diary Monologues in 4 Acts, Dracula and The Girl and The Gloomy Forest and ’22 The Fall of Man.
He performed, collaborated and danced for various choreographers, theater and dance companies over the past decade, including Lionel Hoche, Anh Ngoc Nguyen, Adrienn Hód, EnKnapGroup, Club Guy and Roni, Dollardaddy’s, SNG Nova Gorica, Theater Glej and Nature Theater of Oklahoma among others. He taught at the Budapest Theater Acting Academy (Pesti Magyar Színiakadémia) and shares a Zupancic Award with EnKnapGroup for outstanding work and impact on the Slovenian dance scene.
Bence’s work consists of a mixture of personal stories and other found materials transformed through theatrical devices, aimed to generate events that push the limits of all the participants present.

IDA HELLSTEN studied contemporary dance at SEAD, Salzburg (2005-2008), and has since then been working as a dancer and performer in Sweden and internationally. For five years he was a permanent member of the dance company En Knap Group in Ljubljana, Slovenia, through which she was collaborating with a variety of different choreographers and directors and touring around the world. Since 2017 she is based in Stockholm, participating in various projects as a dancer and performer. She is working with audiences of varying ages, where she also at times uses voice, text and singing as performing tools.

Friday, 25.08.2023