“America has gone mad about vampires,” Sterling Professor of the Humanities Harold Bloom complained to his “Art of Reading a Poem” seminar. As if to prove his point, “BITE ME BABY One More Time: Twilight: The Britney Musical,” premiered yesterday.
Three Yale sophomores wrote the play, which sets the popular saga of Bella and Edward to “Womanizer,” “Toxic” and the rest of Britney Spears’ greatest hits. “BITE ME BABY” satirizes both sources of its inspiration while staying very loyal to the plot of the “Twilight” book and film.
“Twilight” and Britney are a perfect match because “they’re both all about bloodlust and angst,” Ari Berkowitz ’12, who co-wrote and directed the production, said.
Berkowitz wrote the show with Mila Hursey ’12 and Tom Sanchez ’12. The play stars Keith Rubin ’12 and Julie Shain ’13 as the blood-thirsty Edward and his human love-interest, respectively.
Rubin’s facial spasms perfectly convey Edward’s inner torment as he struggles not to eat his new girlfriend, and his dance moves recall Britney’s golden era — circa “ … Baby One More Time.” Shain’s voice carries many of the production’s musical numbers, and her awkward manner channels Kristin Stewart in the “Twilight” film.
Both said they enjoyed the rehearsal process, which Rubin described as “very collaborative” between the actors and directors. The low point: having to watch the film version for research.
“It was annoying watching the movie,” Shain said. “Why does Edward like Bella? She has spaz attacks when she tries to talk to him.”
Rubin and Shain agreed that to satirize “Twilight,” all you really need to do is portray it accurately.
Alexandra Addison ’12 adds another level of humor, playing a character not present in the movie — Stephanie Meyers, the book’s author. She opens the show by welcoming the audience to her “sexual fantasy … I mean book.”
“BITE ME BABY” uses minimal props and costumes, and almost no set, but audience-members familiar with the movie — and let’s get serious, most of us are — should be able to fill in the visual gaps for themselves.
So why are Americans so obsessed with vampires? Berkowitz thinks she has an answer to Bloom’s question.
“There’s something really provocative about someone who is dangerous,” she said. “In stories with a human woman and a vampire man, the woman wants the man to be dangerous, but also strong enough to protect her.”
“BITE ME BABY” will be performed Thursday at 6 and 9 p.m., Friday at 6 and 9 p.m., and Saturday — Halloween — at 1 and 6 p.m. in the Davenport Theater. Tickets are sold out, but visit yaledramacoalition.org to be placed on a waiting list.