On October 18th, 2009, seven of us got together and created a new soundtrack to the 1931 film Dracula, directed by Tod Browning and starring Bela Legosi. This is one of my favorite episodes to date. The orchestration is extremely lush, and the performers were especially good at knowing when and what to play.
Before the show, we paired a performer with a character in the film and had that performer come up with a character theme. Ken Soper on keyboard provided the theme for Dracula, for example. Things really started to get interesting when the characters interacted with each other, and the performers had to find ways to mix the themes together. Aside from coming up with some themes in advance, the show was completely improvised.
You can listen to this episode in sync with the film (and I’ll tell you how in the podcast intro) or you can just listen without the visuals. If you can get a copy of the film (and the version we use is the 2004 Universal Legacy collection dvd) I highly recommend you use it. But if you can’t get the film, don’t let that stop you from listening to the show on it’s own. The improv still works great by itself.
Dracula Improv features Ken Soper on keys and Theremin; Jamison Sevits on Fender Rhodes; Craig Schenker on saxophone and flute; Charlie Rauh on electric guitar; Cody Bottoms on percussion; Melody Holt on musical saw, autoharp, and Theremin; and myself on a circuit-bent Cool Keys keyboard, musical saw, autoharp, and wind chimes. We had a small audience that also participate by making screams, etc. They were Mara Bissel, Amanda Tucker, Pimpdaddysupreme, and Deklan. I did the live mixing and post-production. Enjoy.