Bloodthirsty talent

Dracula creeps into Calgary this month, drawing us to the theatre the same way Halloween candy draws us to yet another year of trick-or-treating. At first, we are lured by the mainstream chocolate bar: Dracula himself, played by veteran actor and former “All My Children” star John LeClerc. From the corner of the eye however, we spot a new, smaller wrapper in the candy bag. Has Hershey introduced a new flavor? Even better. Theatre Calgary introduces Mairi Babb, who stars as the young and lovely Lucy Seward, Dracula’s love interest. I decide to open the wrapper and take a bite.

What appealed to me first was Mairi’s bio. Only one month after graduating with a Fine Arts Degree from the University of Victoria, she landed her first acting role, and hasn’t stopped since. Babb also spent two exciting months studying Shakespeare at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England. Now, she adds to her resume a staring role alongside a Dracula with an eternity of experience, in one of the biggest theatre companies in Canada. After three short years, it almost seems like Babb has nothing to fear in entering the blood-sucking world of the arts.

However, I learnt otherwise. As university graduation approached, young Mairi had many concerns regarding her acting career. She still does.

“The problem with acting,” she says, “is that it offers no stability. You constantly have to be selling yourself.”

But at 23, she already has things under control. Instead of showing anxiety over her big Theatre Calgary debut, Babb excites over the huge prosthetic bite mark she will sport during the show. They are also going to rehearse with the stage bats and, I dare say, she looks thrilled.

“The people here are fantastic,” she says. “The whole arts scene really support each other–a real community.”

But Calgary remains just a temporary stop in this actor’s journey. She follows the show back to Winnipeg, where it will run until mid December. And after Dracula?

“The Winnipeg film scene is picking up,” Mairi shrugs lightheartedly. “Who knows where it’ll go.”

This girl is a Canadian chocolate bar in the making.

So whether you go to see the classic rendition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, or you hunt door-to-door for those treats, keep in mind the smaller goodies. They are the ones that make the real treat. They are the ones that shed some light on how to survive in the post-university world, and if it’s possible, to succeed in the arms of a blood-sucking vampire.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.