‘Interview with the Vampire’: A Guide to the Theatres des Vampires

The second episode of “Interview with the Vampire” Season 2 introduced what fans of the Vampire Chronicles have been waiting for when Louis and Claudia finally crossed the threshold of the iconic Theatres des Vampires. The episode, titled “Do You Know What It Means To Be Loved By Death,” began with Louis and Armand co-narrating the memory of their first-ever meeting on the streets of postwar Paris and ended with Louis and Claudia’s quest to find more vampires at an end as not one, not two, but fourteen new vampires enter stage right and take their places in “Interview’s” story.

But who are all of these vampires? Where did they come from? And why are they using projection technology to trick live audiences into watching them drink people for real? These are many questions and in true “Interview” fashion, only some of them have answers.

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What is the Theatres des Vampires? 

It’s a theater of vampires, if you can believe it. It was founded in the 18th century by Lestat himself, as the surprise reveal of his portrait backstage suggests. The story of its founding will partially be told through flashbacks in Season 2, so to avoid spoilers it’s enough to say that Lestat has always been the kind of vampire who creates drama wherever he goes. It’s just this time the drama is super literal.

The Theatres functions as both a house of entertainment and a cover for the vampires of the troupe to ritualistically kill and drink their victims in public. The twisted irony of performing those kills instage in front of a live human audience is a spark of cruelty that, in their minds, elevates their killing to a cynical expression of art.

Like many things, “Interview With the Vampire” updates the Theatres des Vampires from the gothic, 19th century institution it was in Anne Rice’s books. This new theater is more consistent with the beginnings of pop art in postwar Europe, a movement which centralized the process in creating art as a part of the art itself, giving rise to “performance art “and the incorporation of new mediums like screen printing and projections.

And yes, the vampires are a few decades early to be fully a part of the pop art movement, but hey, when you’re 100 years old maybe predicting art trends comes naturally.

Who are the actors of the Theatres des Vampires? 

The four main stage actors are Santiago, Estelle, Celeste, and Gustav.

Santiago (Ben Daniels) is impossible to miss, serving as the master of ceremonies at each performance, a role that also gives him the opportunity to taunt the audience with, and eventually portray, the spirit of Death. Despite his influence in the troupe, Santiago is the youngest of the theatrical vampires, having been turned only 25 years before Louis arrives. Like the rest of the current troupe except Armand, Santiago never met Lestat, but the two spotlight-hugging, swaggering blondes have a lot in common. That is not a compliment for either of them.

Estelle and Celeste are the two women vampires on stage. Their backgrounds are unknown, only that they’re older than Santiago, and they have a particularly cloying affection for Claudia.

Gustav is the taller, dark-haired vampire actor who plays most of the male roles onstage, since Santiago only appears as either himself or as Death during the performance.

What about everyone else? 

Armand quickly runs down the list of the theater’s support staff, but their names and occupations are easy to miss. Louis and Claudia meet:

Eglee, the lady vampire who runs the theaters front-of-house operations.

Romaine, redheaded stage manager.

Luchenbaum, the forever-elderly costumer.

Samuel “Sam” Barclay, the playwright who updates the theater’s century-old playbook so the performances evolve with the tastes of whichever era they’re performed. Despite his talent he is the most recent addition to the troupe, making him the go-to vampire for grunt work around the theater. He knows where the bodies are buried because he’s the one burying them.

Basilic the Afro-French vampire and his fellow musician Planche are members of the orchestra.

Trinh and Quan Pham are a Vietnamese father-and-son duo who handle the technical side of the theater, including the animated projections used to simulate sets and action onstage. Despite their appearances, Trinh the visibly younger vampire is Quan the allegedly older vampire’s father, having been turned earlier in his life than his son was.

With these new characters, “Interview” tripled the amount of immortals on the show and the question remains if there are more to be found or made later in Season 2. For now, after going from four to fourteen in a single episode, it seems that when it rains in the Immortals universe, it really does pour. Vampires.

“Interview with the Vampire” Season 2 is airing now on AMC.

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