By Raymond, Gerard
The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
I have never impaled auyone--with a stick," says David Drake with a reassuring smile. That will be a relief for audienees at his latest solo performance work, Son of Drakula, running from October 10 to November 2 at San Francisco's New Conservatory Theatre Center. The show chronicles Drake's attempts to trace his ancestry all the way back to Vlad Dracula, a.k.a. "the Impaler," who was notorious for driving wooden stakes through his enemies. You see, although we know the writer-performer of The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me as "Drake," his real surname is Drakula.
"I am Drakula," Drake intones at the start of his show, echoing the words of the famous Bram Stoker novel that forever linked Eastern European vampire lore to the 15th-century Transylvanian. "It's an adventure story, like the novel," he says. "We go into the unknown world in Transylvania."
In the 11 years since the debut of Larry Kramer, Drake has directed work by others and appeared in various stage kind screen productions, including the New York revival of Tim Boys in the Band. About eight years ago he became interested in tracing the origins of his family name. (His mother changed his name to Drake after she divorced his father, but legally he remains a Drakula.)
"It turns out that my great-grand father who emigrated [from Europe is one of only 11 Drakulas to ever come here," Drake says. As he delved further back, Drake's genealogical quest inevitably led hint to Vlad's stomping grounds in modern Romania and Hungary--and to Croatia, the current home of his branch of the Drakulas.
"I can trace my family authoritatively to the year 1611 to a place in Serbia, very close to Kosovo. They are ethnic Serbs who lived in Croatia," Drake says. Hoping to clinch the genealogical link to the Impaler, he ended up presenting a paper on his research at the World Dracula Congress in Transylvania. …