Maybe Red Wine with Dracula? Storyteller Will Present Stoker Tale as 'Mind Cinema'

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Byline: P. S. Colbert Daily Herald Correspondent

"Come for the wine, stay for the spirits."

The good folks at Palatine Parks District cordially invite you to join them this Saturday evening at Cutting Hall, for their second annual "Wine & Spirits" Halloween celebration.

Corks start popping at 6, with guests who are 21 and over invited to sample a variety of wines provided by Carl Arthur, a gourmet chef and wine connoisseur who also just happens to serve as president of the park district's foundation.

At 7 p.m., nationally renowned storyteller Megan Wells will be speaking in distinctly chilly, autumnal tones, the better to bring Bram Stoker's archetypal gothic horror novel, "Dracula" to life.

"I'm just remounting it back into its ancestral form," said Wells. "Stories of vampires had been around long before Bram Stoker, who based his fictional Transylvanian count on folk tales of a real Transylvanian, known as Vlad, the Impaler."

The hour-long performance deals primarily with events described in character Jonathan Harker's journals. (The entire book is told from the perspective of four characters, each writing in diaries, save for one brief newspaper account.)

Wells won't be holding court from a podium or even holding a copy of the text but, rather, reclining on a chaise to evoke "that we're in the parlor feeling this story's needs."

"I also have a fabulous red dress for this occasion," said Wells, who prefers what she calls a "minimally suggestive set."

Purists beware: Wells will not merely be intoning from the novel word for word.

"Sometimes I'll take words out, sometimes put them in," she said. "If I were to do this piece four nights in a row, there would be differences in each show.

"One of the things I love most about storytelling is that it has such a great improvisational area for the teller to move around in. You can edit a story, so it stays a movie in people's heads, pausing or stretching in order to play with the focus of people's minds. …