It’s 10:00 p.m., and I’m standing outside a dark storefront in downtown Los Angeles with four other people. We soon meet our guide, a vampire mystic named Hakan, and he opens the door to our adventure, sending us back in time to October, 1985, to a dark New Orleans club, air throbbing with lust and the pounding beat of a punk band. This is the first time we meet Germaine – at least as a mortal.
Remember Me: Germaine is the first of five ticketed experiences presented by Rachel Foti and the residents of the Count’s Den, each designed to provide a deeper insight into the life (and death) of the members of the coven. The cast (Matthew Vorce, Dana Benedict, Stepy Kamei, Sarah Uplinger, and Anes ), as always, give strong performances – both emotionally and physically, hinting at the turbulant relationships between the characters and their own personal darkness.
Though most evenings at the Count’s Den are highly interactive, in Remember Me, Hakan (Hasi), the coven’s spiritual advisor, leads you through the experience unseen and unheard by the crowd, silent observers of the past.
Germaine’s (Vorce) tale begins in the middle of his band’s set. As the last notes of the song fade, Hakan leads you to the back of the room, where you’re privy to a conversation between Cora (Benedict), Elizabeth (Kamei), and Ellie (Uplinger), the three core family members of the coven, regarding Germaine, Cora’s current paramour, and later get a glimpse of the tumultuous relationship between Cora and Germaine.
You then follow Germaine briefly and discover the root cause of the difficulties between he and Cora – an addiction to heroin, leading to a shocking discovery and difficult decision for Cora at the climax of the show.
Since it is a vampire origin story, there’s no shortage of violence and blood, including an intensely physical death at the hands of Elizabeth (Kamei), and the final moments of the show, silently threading our way through the aftermath of a feeding frenzy, were some of the strongest moments of the evening. Another powerful moment was the opening scene – having both the entire cast together and a live band performing was a delightful surprise and an excellent way of setting the stage for the rest of the show.
Despite the brevity of the performance, clocking in at about a half an hour, the story and characters felt very well realized and complete – this was one night out of many, but it was easy to see the nuance and history between them. Much of the evening was spent with Cora, Elizabeth, and Ellie, exploring their perception of the modern world and Cora’s relationship with Germaine, but I would have enjoyed a little more of Germaine’s perspective as well – both before and after his death. As it was, this felt like Cora’s memory of Germaine’s death and rebirth, rather than his own.
The Count’s Den has produced consistently high quality events, with excellent performers and high production values and their first fully staged theatrical performance was no different. Remember Me: Germaine was a strong beginning to this chapter in the coven’s story, and I look forward to the stories yet to be told.