The Audience who had gathered at multi-purpose hall in Annex 7 of American International University-Bangladesh were certainly somewhat surprised as Bram Stoker's immortal creation the frightening vampire Count Dracula welcomed them to an afternoon of exploration of 'The Gothic' in literature. From his shadow emerged the co-host of the event, another figure from the realms of popular culture, the creepy and mysterious Wednesday Adams.
The faculties and students of the Department of English were busy planning this intriguing afternoon since the beginning of fall 2023-24 semester. After weeks of hard work and rehearsals finally on October 11, Wednesday (a happy accident) the stage was set. Audience started gathering from 3:15 pm and soon the event was inaugurated by Prof. Dr. Tazul Islam, Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences.
As the title suggested the focus of the program was not only literature identified as 'gothic romance' of the Victorian period (1837-1901) but also works that are thematically similar across literary history and culture. The event began with creative presentations from the greats such as Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley, Emily Dickinson, and Charlotte Bronte's canonical works. This was soon followed by gothic interpretation of a segment from modernist poet T.S. Eliot's haunting poem The Waste Land, and stage adaptation of contemporary popular fantasy and horror fiction author Stephen King's novel Secret Window, Secret Garden. The humorous chemistry between Dracula and Wednesday was triggering the audience into bursts of laughter and several performances received applaud and ovation, notably Bertha Mason's role played by Tasnia Elahi Proma a final semester student of the Department.
Among the audience, the Dean Prof. Dr. Tazul Islam, Associate Dean Prof Dr. Rahmatullah, Head of the English Department Hamidul Haque and faculties of various departments were present. The hearts of the gathering, however, were the booming and cheering students of the university who crowded the Multi-purpose Hall to its brim.
After a surprise faculty performance and a very interactive mock-tarot card reading session, the curtain dropped. However, the student enthusiasm seemed to have lingered as an ecstatic echo soon could be traced on social media.