The Full Story
Countess Elizabeth Bathory
spit&vigor presents BLOOD COUNTESS at The Players Theatre, a gory, high-energy dark comedy about alleged serial killer Elizabeth Bathory. Countess Elizabeth Bathory was alleged to have killed between 60-600 of her servants and bathed in her blood. She was tried and punished for her crimes.
Runtime is 2 hours and 15 minutes. There is a ten minutes intermission.
Warning: Nudity and violence. If that's your thing, we'll see you there.
The rest we must suppose.
From the acclaimed company that brought Ectoplasm to The Players Theatre (“tenacity ground into every red velvet seat - in other words, I love it” - Vulture) and In Vestments to West Park Presbyterian Church (“wrenching and visually eloquent” - The New York Times), BLOOD COUNTESS is a gory, campy, high energy retelling of the life of serial killer Elizabeth Bathory. A deliciously dark blend of bodice-ripping romance, historical costumes, club beats, sex, death, and swashbuckling swordfights. Theater company spit&vigor brings their transformative set pieces, design and commitment to daring live theater (guts gore and guile included) while musician Z. Quinn Reynolds creates a haunting, otherworldly score.
photos by Giancarlo Osaben
Cast & Crew:
spit&vigor Founded in 2015, spit&vigor is a non-profit theater company devoted to the development of new plays and spirited, innovative productions of existing work. Dedicated to makeshift, skin-of-your-teeth, ad hoc theater - bringing modern voices and perspectives to the wild, chaotic, irreverent, burlesque roots of theater. We have a special interest in gender issues, work and class issues, which we bring to all of our productions. We specialize in intimate theatrical productions in non-standard spaces.
spit&vigor's small roster of productions has been award winning and critically acclaimed, praised as “darkly humorous, deliciously ghoulish”, “wrenching and visually eloquent”, "irresistibly dramatic" and "legitimately upsetting" by the New York Times.
In collaboration with theater company Theatre4thePeople, spit&vigor was the recipient of the 2015 New York Innovative Theater Outstanding Premiere Production of a Play Award for their very first production in a historic chapel at The West Park Presbyterian Church, which included an Artist Support Grant from the Donn Russell Fund. spit&vigor has since gone on to earn The Players Theater off-broadway Artistic Residency, The Center at West Park’s Artist Residency, IRT's 3B Residency, The Davenport space grant, and The Times Center space grant.
We have performed by special invitation at The Glitterbox Theater in Pittsburgh and the 2017 NOLA InFringe Festival. In 2019, we were invited by the descendants of famous theatrical family, the Booths, for the first-ever full theater performance at The Players, the historic social club in NYC.
We are NYC-based but our productions have traveled from California to Texas to Louisiana and back to New York City.
Theater of guts & guile // blood, sweat, tears // spit & vigor.
KELLEEN CONWAY BLANCHARD (Playwright) is a playwright with a penchant for the creepy and monstrous side of humanity. Thrice nominated for the Gregory award-Her work has been produced at Annex Theatre, Seattle Immersive Theater, Pony World, Seattle Playwright's Collective, the 14/48 Festival, FringeACT, Seattle Public Theater,18th and Union and many others. Her 2012 femme-sploitation women’s prison takeoff Kittens in a Cage received rave reviews and spawned an acclaimed webseries. Blood Countess premiered at Annex Theatre in Seattle and was produced at The Strand In Baltimore last Fall.
NICHOLAS THOMAS (Producer / Director / Inspector) is an actor, writer and director from Melbourne, Australia. As an actor/producer he has studied at HB Studios. His sketch comedy troupe has produced two web series and multiple television shows at MNN Studios. He also writes, produces and directs original online content with his company Blunderbuss. Phoenix Reign: Nominated Best Dark Comedy Screenplay, Oregon Short Film Festival (2019); Nominated Best Comedy Television Episode Screenplay, Portland Comedy Film Festival(2018).Return Of the Green Dragon: Semi Finalist The Comedy World Network International Film Festival, (Las Vegas 2018) Businessman ShowdownNominated New York Indie Film Fest 2016. He was a performer and teacher at the Peoples’ Improv Theatre (The PIT).
SARA FELLINI (Visual Design, Elizabeth Bathory) is an award-winning playwright, director, actress, and skilled artisan. Her first play, HAZARD A LITTLE DEATH, was nominated for six awards at the 2014 NYC Planet Connections Theater Festivity including Best Production of a New Play and Best Lead Actress (Sara Fellini), winning Best New Script. She performed in the monodrama THE OTHER MOZART by Sylvia Milo at The Players Theatre in NYC and toured with the production (winning Cat5 magazine’s Best Theater Production of 2015, “the voice of a crystal bell, Fellini is captivating” –NOLA Defender), and created the role of Maeve Shourd in a site-specific production of IN VESTMENTS, a play of her own writing and winner of two New York Innovative Theatre awards, nominated for Outstanding New Full-Length Script, earning her theater company the Donn Russell grant, and acclaimed by the NYTimes as "wrenching and visually eloquent". She has appeared in another play of her own writing, THE EXECUTION OF MRS. COTTON (called "darkly humorous" and "deliciously ghoulish" by the NYTimes) as part of IRT Theater's 3B Residency. She played Mary Shelley in MARY’S LITTLE MONSTER by Thomas Kee at the mudlark public theatre in NOLA, The Davenport Theatre in NYC as part of the Davenport space grant, and intimately in a single room at Torn Page, the historic home of Rip Torn and Geraldine Page. She played baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi in her play NEC SPE / NEC METU at The Tank’s July 2017 DarkFest, at Theater Row as part of United Solo Festival, at the mudlark public theatre in NOLA, and by special invitation at The Glitter Box in Pittsburgh, PA. She played Asia Booth Clarke in THE BRUTES ("irresistibly dramatic, legitimately upsetting" - The NYTimes) by Casey Wimpee at The Flamboyan as part of The 10th Anniversary Planet Connections Festivity, nominated for 8 awards including Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Costume Design (both Sara Fellini). That production was invited by the Booth family to perform annually at The Players, Edwin Booth's historic home. During quarantine, she wrote and directed LUNA ECLIPSE, a one-shot livestream film, chosen as one of TIME OUT's Best Online Theater Productions, and she recently made her off-broadway performing and directing debut in THE WAKE OF DORCAS KELLY at The Players Theatre, a play she both wrote and directed, chosen as part of The Observer's Best Summer Theater of 2021. She has gone on to write, direct, and perform in ECTOPLASM off broadway at The Players Theatre as part of their Artistic Residency and her company spit&vigor has another upcoming residency this January.
JESSICA CHOI (Lighting Design): is the Lighting Designer for spit&vigor’s Production of Blood Countess at Players Theatre. Past shows include: Audrey The New Musical, After Happily Ever After, And Then There Were None, Between Panic and Desire, Somewhere I Can Scream, Murder on the Links, Cinderella, Sleepy Hollow, Christmas Carol, and Beauty and Beast at Players Theatre. She studied and graduated in Entertainment Technology at NYC College of Technology. In addition to her design work, she is a freelancer in the positions of a technician, assistant lighting designer, light board programmer/operator working in the field of theater and fashion.
Z. QUINN REYNOLDS (Sound Design) is a multimedia artist living and working in Brooklyn. After graduating from the SUNY Purchase Playwriting/Screenwriting program, (2020) they moved to New York City To begin a frustrating and short lived career in commercial video production. Since 2017, Quinn has been working with the Superhero Alliance of Western New York, The Buffalo Bisons, and The Explore and More Children’s Museum, to produce a series of multimedia interactive children’s shows. As a one person production house, Quinn writes, directs, films, edits, post produces, and scores these projects. Their work has been featured by the Road Less Traveled Theater Company, and has been awarded a place on the SUNY Heliotrope List. Outside of theater, Quinn plays lead guitar with Queens based songwriter Nora Knox. They Currently work for A.R.T. /New York as a Facilities Coordinator
ADAM BELVO (Producer) is a Brooklyn based actor and theater producer. Recent New York acting work includes Edwin Booth in THE BRUTES (2019 NYIT Outstanding Lead Actor Nominee), John Polidori in MARY's LITTLE MONSTER, Azra Todd in THE EXECUTION OF MRS. COTTON, Danny in DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA, Father Nathan Shourd in the NYIT Award winning IN VESTMENTS, K.Bus and Muskie in Aztec Economy's BUTCHER HOLLER HERE WE COME (NYIT 2016 Outstanding Lead Actor nominee), Jack in OVER, Georges in HAZARD A LITTLE DEATH (Planet Connections Festival 2014: Best Actor Award Winner), Jaques in AS YOU LIKE IT, El Spectro in COLOR TVs IN TIJUANA, Ryszard in PONTIAC FIREBIRD VARIATIONS (Ice Factory 2011) and Vanya in UNCLE VANYA. Regionally, Adam has toured and performed as K.Bus in BUTCHER HOLLER HERE WE COME (Cincinnati Fringe Festival 2013, New Orleans Fringe Festival 2013, Out-of-the-Loop Festival 2014-Dallas, Revolutions 2016-Albuquerque, NM, Hollywood Fringe 2019, others), he has worked with MTB productions to produce and star in HELPLESS DOORKNOBS (New Orleans Fringe 2012) and as The Stranger in MY AIM IS TRUE (New Orleans Fringe 2011). He is Executive Producer of the Brooklyn based theater company spit&vigor (www.spitnvigor.com), and a collaborating member of Working Man's Clothes Productions and Aztec Economy. His work has been showcased at The 14th Street Y, The Tank, 3LD, The Ohio Theater, The New Ohio Theatre, The Davenport Theater, WestPark Presbyterian Church, The Abingdon Theater (Dorothy Strelsin and the June Havoc,) American Place Theater, Under St. Marks, and IRT Theater, among others.
LUKE COUZENS (Ferenc Nádasdy & fight choreography) is a Brooklyn-based actor, teaching artist and poet. He is very excited to be joining such an excellent group of artists on this spit&vigor production! Originally from New England, Luke is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University, and called Chicago home for several years before moving to NYC in 2015. Recent theatrical credits include Unmaking Toulouse-Lautrec (Bated Breath Theatre), the titular roles in Hercules: In Search of A Hero (Eclipses Group Theater NY), and Macbeth (Stages On The Sound), Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mainestage Shakespeare), 420: The Musical (Theater 80, Plum Stab Productions), and George in Our Town (Theater At Monmouth). He can be seen appearing in The Get Down on Netflix, and in the indie horror-comedy film Monsters In The Closet on Amazon Prime and Tubi. Luke is also a collaborating member of The Skipper Room (on Instagram @theskipperroom) previously based in Los Angeles, California. Many thanks to his friends and family for their enthusiastic support.
SARA SANTUCCI (Dorkus) is an actress currently based in New York. Theater is her favorite thing! She wants to merge the intellectual, language-based approach to acting that comes from her love for literature and writing with a strong attention to movement and physicality inspired by dance practices and improvisations. She started her training in Milan studying acting and dramaturgy and took part in devised shows. After graduating in Musical Theater from MTS she moved to New York to deepen her acting training by attending the Atlantic Acting School Conservatory, where she followed courses in methods such as Practical Aesthetics, Viewpoints and Suzuki. Credits include Lavander in "Bacchae 2.1" at Atlantic Stage 2, Kate in "Taming of the Shrew", Georgina in "Recess", "Hair" and "Pippin". She is very excited and grateful to be portraying Dorkus in this production of “Blood Countess ”and to be working with this incredible company!
PERRI YANIV (Priest), born and raised in NYC, has appeared in over 40 productions locally, most recently with spit&vigor’s MAROONED and special performances of THE BRUTES at The Players Club (and previously at The New Ohio). Also religiously cloaked in RED NOSES (Nicu’s Spoon) and A CABAL OF HYPOCRITES (Wesleyan University). Other theatre credits include RAFT OF THE MEDUSA (Barefoot Theatre Company), THE PLANTATION (Brave New World Rep), CLOVER and THE WEAK AND THE STRONG at LaMaMa, and title roles in revivals of Mayakovsky’s THE BEDBUG, Shaw’s DON JUAN IN HELL and Ansky’s THE DYBBUK. TV/FILM credits “The Blacklist,” “BEDLAM: the series,” “Purity,” “Delivery Hour,” “White Peacock.” www.perribazyaniv.com
SAMANTHA HAVILAND (Fitzco) is a proud actor and playwright, and a graduate of Hofstra University with a BFA in Performance. Samantha is thrilled to be reunited with spit&vigor after being part of their production of The Brutes earlier this year; some other favorite roles to date include Niobe in the new play, Doubt That the Stars Are Fire, Ophelia in Hamlet, Celia in As You Like It, and Medea herself. As a playwright, her first full-length play (co-written with Laura Erle), Three Sisters, Four Women, is coming to SoHo Shakespeare early 2023, in which she'll also star. Samantha can be found on Instagram @samdehaviland and online at samanthahaviland.com.
ANDREA WOODBRIDGE (Mother) is an actor and playwright based in Long Island and NYC. Her most recent stage performances were The Cowardly Lioness in her award-winning original short play “Under the Rainbow”, Miss Prism in “The Importance of Being Earnest”, Kara in “Good Intentions”, and Ghost of Christmas Past in “A Christmas Carol: The Musical”. She invites you to connect with her via Instagram @andrea_m_woodbridge, and on her website andreawoodbridge.com. Special thanks to Steve and Sierra for their love and support.
JILLIAN CICALESE (Horned Woman) is an actor, director, and teaching artist based in NYC. She earned her Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from the FSU Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. She was previously seen off-Broadway at The Player’s Theatre as psychic-medium Sara Marshall in spit&vigor’s production of “Ectoplasm” by Sara Fellini, and also performed and directed multiple pieces for their summer series “Marooned!” She is also a resident actor with NYC’s 812th best Shakespeare company, Hamlet Isn’t Dead!, with whom she most recently performed as a Weird Sister and Songstress in their production of Macbeth. As a teaching artist, she offers group workshops and private coaching, which include monologue coaching, ensemble building, and Shakespeare workshops! She is excited to share this world with you all and thanks you for supporting the arts! To keep up with her work, visit jilliancicalese.com and follow her on Instagram @jmcicalese.
CHLOÉ BELL (Bloody Girl) is originally from Louisville, KY and received her BFA from The University of MN / Guthrie Actor Training Program. She packed up a car on December 31st 2019, to move to New York, and what a ride it's been. She's so grateful to be working with this team and is excited to share these pieces with you. Some of her most recent work here in New York has been Marooned with Spit & Vigor, Macbeth with Hamlet Isn’t Dead, Captain Placeholder... with Greenhouse Ensemble, Voyeur: The Windows of Toulouse Lautrec with Bated Breath Theatre Company and On Every Link a Heart Does Dangle: or Owed with The Lark Theatre. You can keep up to date with her and her work at chloebellactor.com. She'd like to extend a special thank you to her immensely supportive friends and boyfriend, Andrew. <3
SILVANA CARRANZA (Theodora/Turnip Girl) is an AADA-graduate and Brooklyn-native actor, voice actor, and writer. Her most recent credits include What We Do In the Shadows Fan Film “The Newly Dead”, several Target toy commercials, and she’s provided her voice for Eric and Brandon on “The Bakery Boyz” cartoon. If Time Out Magazine saw her perform, they’d probably say something like “Oh geez! Silvana is such a great actor. Boy howdy, I could watch her act all day!” Silvana is happy to be working with Spit & Vigor, and invites everyone to follow her on Instagram at @thesilvanacarranza
CAIT MURPHY (Katalin) is thrilled to be a part of another spit&vigor production! She studied Musical Theatre at Marymount Manhattan College in addition to training at Circle in the Square Theatre School and Upright Citizens Brigade. Cait has covered a wide range of roles from the title character in Happy Hamster Birthday to 75-year-old woman in Zuccotti Park: The Musical to faceless nun in In Vestments. She has performed in cabaret spaces all over NYC, including at 54 Below, the Metropolitan Room, Birdland, the Duplex, and Don't Tell Mama, and was a finalist in the MetroStar Talent Challenge. Cait is a voiceover artist, and television producer who has worked on shows for NBC, Bravo, Peacock, Travel Channel, MTV, and Netflix. Thanks to Sara, Nick, and Adam for this opportunity! caitmurphy.com