V A M P:
consumption in three acts

an electronic gothic rock opera by
jake perrine

Plot Synopsis

VAMP is a tragic rock-opera about betrayal and consumption.  It uses the popular metaphor of the vampire as a lens through which to examine our humanity. 

It is the story of Alexandra, a woman alone with her piano in her once family estate amidst a vast overgrown vineyard estate.  She is searching desperately for her humanity.  She is Timeless. She is a Vampire.  Vamp is also the story of three young artists, Simon, Rose and Carmine, who, as children, were piano students of Alexandra.  The play is the story of their first reunion with Alex in some fifteen years, played out over the course of one weekend.

The prologue of Vamp takes place in Alex’s chamber where she is rising from her long undead slumber, pushing out from the confines of her concert grand Piano.  She is eager to rediscover old sensations, and "savor the fountain of love’s bliss." {"Prologue: Moonrise"}  As if right on cue, the doorbell rings. 

Alex opens the door to reveal the smiling, rosy-cheeked faces of Simon, Rose and Carmine, bearing gifts of flowers and fruit. They are instantly transformed by their memories of this place from their childhood, and tear off into the great mansion to rediscover their favorite nooks. {"Heaven"}  While exploring the vast cellars, Rose and Simon are debating the state of their on-again off-again relationship.  Suddenly, Rose discovers a trove of old, dusty unmarked bottles of wine, presumably from the old family vineyard.  They take as much as they can carry and head back upstairs where a feast ensues. {"Wine"}  After a few rounds of toasting each other, they begin to bring Alex up to date on the directions their lives have taken.  We learn that Carmine is a painter, and has recently found God.  Rose is a writer working on her first novel.  Simon, as she knows, has pursued a career as an actor.  Each cite Alex and their time spent with her as children as the origins of their drive to be creative. We learn from the three that Alex was not simply a piano teacher, but as they reflect, she was also a mentor, an inspiration, and a friend.  {"Object of Art"} After giving "thanks to the ones who inspire us to go on," Simon entreats Rose to fetch more wine from the cellar.  Once there, she reflects on her difficult relationship with love.  {"Duet"} 

Returning later to the parlor, the evening winds down with a more serious discussion of their respective fears, and the tone becomes more guarded and insidious, and Simon, brashly, kisses Alexandra in the midst of everyone. {"Fears"}  In soliloquy, Alexandra closes Act I with a reflection on the ephemeral nature of memory in the unforgiving hands of time.  {"Time"}

Act II begins with a the following evening. To exact some kind of dignity for Simon’s obvious attraction to Alexandra, Rose uncharacteristically entreats Carmine in front of a presumably sleeping Simon.  {"Early to Rise"}  As they depart, Simon wakes and laments to his reflection in a mirror that he is losing his grip on reality.  Then an idea occurs to him: If he could only be as morally autonomous as the title role he played in Dracula, he would be free to do as he wishes without guilt. He recognizes that his own actions can have no real effect on life’s great mystery and curses the death that comes to every man regardless of piety or perfidy ­ traits not unlike those he assumed when donning the robe of Dracula.  He resolves to act out this revelation by convincing his friends that not only is he a vampire, but they are as well.  {"Beast"}  Rose enters presently, right on time to be Simon’s first "victim." {"Seduction of Rose"}  Desiring, and apparently having now regained, Simon’s attention, she returns, as always, to his side, allowing herself to be caught up in his extravagant neurotic charade.  Having watched this from the shadows, distraught and intrigued, Carmine asks his God for guidance, as he presumes that he will be the next "conversion."  {"Faith"}  As always, he receives only silence.  As he suspected, Rose and Simon enter and attempt to lure him into their whirlwind of lust and lechery.  {"Seduction of Carmine"}  Just as they are about to succeed, Alex appears with an air of surprise and disapproval, and leaves them, angered and disappointed. Simon, never being one to turn down a challenge, gives chase. {"Sometimes at Night"}

The end of Act II finds two scenes enacted in parallel: Rose preying on Carmine, and Simon chasing after Alex back in her room.  The irony of Simon’s unwitting pursuit of her illuminates for Alex a possibility that she had not previously considered: what if she were to take Simon as a vampiric partner?  Would that finally put an end to her suffering in solitude?  In a grand dance of seduction and supplication, the trap springs and hunter becomes hunted as Alex strings Simon up by his feet over a large bowl and slashes his throat.  She intones "Simon, I’m not one of your serpents, I am Queen of the Serpents!"  {"Unveiled"} 

Blackout.  Intermission.


Act III continues later the same night with Simon still hanging and bleeding. {“Strung Up”}  Alexandra wakes, resolved now to do that which she has never done before: make Simon a vampire like herself.  She claims he will be her "lover and child... but never alone."  {"Fallen"}  Meanwhile, Rose and Carmine, having had a disastrous evening of their own, wonder what has happened to Simon and begin to quarrel about what to do.  {"Time to Kill"}  Carmine discovering Simon now weakened from a loss of blood, rushes off to find Rose.  Meanwhile, Alex visits Rose, who admits to Alex that her presence is utterly beguiling and something Rose wants to share in the years to come. Carmine interrupts their conversation and drags Rose to Simon’s body, and they are understandably horrified by the sight.  Alex enters and, in sight of all, completes Simon’s initiation, feeding him with her blood, while the others watch in horror and fascination.  {“Belief”}.  As she intimates to Simon on the nature of what he is becoming and what he will become, we see more deeply into the lost and precarious mind of Alexandra.  {"Destiny"} 

Rose and Carmine, faced with their own mortality in this dire situation, each come to the realization that immortality is what they also crave.  Carmine sees Alex as the divine spirit in corporeal form ­ a finally tangible form that he can believe in and worship ­ and begs her to "make me what you are!"  Rose, not to be outdone (or undone), in her zeal to prove to Alex that she is worthy of vampiric action, drives a stake into Carmine's heart thus proving her resolve.  Simon, now greedy in his newfound power, and recognizing immediately that an eternity with Rose would be unfathomable should Alex relent and feed her the vampiric blood, strangles Rose rather than allowing her to join them.  {"Demise"} 

In the face of such violence, Alexandra recognizes what she has done, and sees the utter damnation in it.  And thus, Alexandra, in her most human (and thus ironic) act, throws open the front doors of the house, bathing she and Simon in a blaze of morning sunlight,  destroying them both and freeing the world from this apparently unending consumptive cycle.  {"Sunrise"}  Fade to black.

Flash forward to the present.  All four characters stand separate and alone under different streetlights, full of unanswered questions and regret that they had not seen through their fear enough to act more virtuously.  {"Epilogue: These Days"}  Are they living or dead?  Human or vampire?  Is this heaven, hell or a nearby street corner?  Was it a dream or real?  Who was responsible?  What was the cost?  There are no clear answers.  Like them, we are left to decide these things for themselves.

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