For presumably secretive creatures of the night, vampires seem to be everywhere nowadays: infiltrating books, film, and TV. It only seems natural that they’re showing up in theater as well. And so we have James Comtois’s drama The Little One, about fledgling vampire Cynthia (Becky Byers), who’s taken in by a surrogate mentor and forced to learn their sanguineous ways.
It’s not as simple as just going nocturnal and drinking blood, though. Cynthia gets into trouble almost immediately by killing another vampire (though out of self-defense), and realizes that as a recently turned “little one,” she’s at the lowest rung of the hierarchy. She then rejects her new brethren, but after a brief stint back with her human loved ones, resigns herself to becoming part of the immortal world. There’s a powerful moment when Cynthia realizes she has no relative concept of time—the lives of family and friends pass by while she remains unchanged. That crisis spurs on both the play and her development, as she faces notions of morality and honor.
The vampires in The Little One are often violent—attacking each other and humans—but the fight scenes tend to be overdone and stiff, lacking fluidity of motion. Choreography issues aside, there’s still much to like in this offering from Nosedive Productions, directed by Pete Boisvert. Comtois enjoyably experiments with time throughout, skipping ahead 350 years after intermission—though the time leaps can require a little too much explanation for audience catchup. Byers likewise does well, ably showing Cynthia’s evolution from scared child to surly teenager before her final emergence as a strong, competent, if not vengeful, vampire. Overall, it’s an interesting take on the genre, but at times lacks bite.