Montreal Fringe: Sire: A Father-Daughter Vampire Story

The other night I got the chance to see actress, playwright and producer, Darragh Mondoux’s “Sire: A Father-Daughter Vampire Story,” brought to the Montreal Fringe fest by A Heart of Gold Productions. Joining Mondoux onstage is painter and graphic designer Robert Mondoux, who portrays Vera’s vampire father and who offstage, also lives the role (sans being a vampire, of course).

Beneath the sensational allure of vampires are profounder themes, like the reality of growing older—for both parties. Vera now 30, has spent her adulthood caring for her moribund father, consequently being absent in her own life. Throughout the play, it becomes apparent Vera needs her father as much as he needs her. Having been abandoned by her Vampire mother, Vera fears being abandoned by anyone who gets too close and her father is the one to teach her that it’s okay to seek out connections with other people. Her father, who at this point is who-knows-how-old, tries to adapt to the present-day absurdity of Aromatherapy ads and memes, grapples with the burden of feeling like an inconvenience to Vera, as he physically cannot care for himself. Tensions arise when Vera’s father sires an innocent lady, unraveling pent up frustrations between the two. It’s at this point where the truth is revealed: Vera’s father resents how much he depends on her for his well-being. Whether or not he will sire Vera into a life of sempiternal youth is the lingering question for the duration of the play.

Amidst the play’s humour, Mondoux’s playwriting manages to evoke deeply existential themes in a way that is unassuming and effortless. If you could live forever should you? What choices should one make to help the ones they love? Should you unveil the blinds and let the sunlight turn your vampire father into specks of shimmering glints, so as to vanish him in thin air and put an end to his immortality for his own sake? In a fast-paced world that’s crazed with extending the longevity of life, Sire encourages the audience to embrace to slow down and embrace its ephemerality. Youth vs old age is juxtaposed in the play, and even Vera’s father admits he doesn’t need to continue living forever, as his life has already manifested its meaningfulness by falling in love with Vera’s birth mom, making memories, and having his daughter—his “biggest adventure” of all his long, long life.

Aside from the pathos of the play, one of my favorite aspects is the way Mondoux writes Vera's character as not being sad and 30, but 30 and choosing to celebrate living life; something (briefly put) the patriarchy has made a hell out of for women.  Mondoux also demonstrates that she knows how to serve continuity at just the right times, her lethal weapon being the dagger of dialogue that is guaranteed to impale one’s emotions. I went into watching this play compelled by vampires, and left wanting to give my parents a hug.  

(Photo credit: Emelia Hellman Photography)

Buy your ticket to Sire here!