'Dracula' swoops onto stage Oct. 14 to 17

Rehearsal image of Dracula with Lucy.The SUNY Oswego theatre department will roll back the clock on the ageless phenomenon of the vampire drama, presenting the original stage adaptation of “Dracula” Oct. 14 to 17.

Rehearsals are under way for the Bram Stoker tale of the powers of darkness versus the forces of good, which opens with a preview at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre. It will continue with 8 p.m. performances Oct. 15 and 16 and concludes at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17.

“There have been many stage adaptations of Stoker’s novel,” said Mark Cole, the play’s director and professor of theatre, “and for this production we decided to return to the original version.”

Stoker’s 1897 novel opened on the New York stage in 1927, under the supervision of his widow, who worked with playwright and actor Hamilton Deane and American journalist John L. Balderston. Stoker had known Deane when Stoker was business manager for the Lyceum Theatre in London, Cole said.

“The play is a tight, melodramatic thriller,” he said. “It of course made a star of Bela Lugosi, in the role of the urbane Count Dracula, who appears equally at home in the drawing room and when voraciously stalking his female victim in the boudoir.”

In the play, Dr. Seward (Nate Roy) calls in Dr. Van Helsing (Sarah Sterling) when Seward’s daughter Lucy (Jessica Quindlen) is stricken with a mysterious illness.

Van Helsing concludes that a vampire is causing Lucy’s lethargy, so Lucy’s excitable fiance , Jonathan Harker (Dylan Duffy), moves to set things right. Lucy’s protectors attempt to outwit the world weary, charming and despicable Count Dracula (Samuel Austin).

The all-student cast also features Ashlee Grant in the role of maid, Brien Bianchi as the attendant, Erik Shuler as a patient in Dr. Seward’s sanitarium with a penchant for eating spiders and flies, and Ariel Marcus as a waif-life character who hovers above all the action.

“Our approach to the production emphasizes the theatricality of the piece, with stage directions spoken at key moments,” Cole said. “We begin from the idea that the character of Dracula is narrating his own story with a collection of characters who are in thrall to him, as the actors. The game of cat and mouse or, more appropriately, spider and fly is played out to its shocking yet inevitable conclusion.”

The student production team includes stage manager Rebeca Schretzlmeir, assistant director Todd Backus, assistant stage managers Melanie Tarrant and Daniel Distasio, dramaturg Sarah Sterling and assistant dramaturg Kimberly Greenawalt.

The faculty team, besides Cole, includes Tim Baumgartner, scene and lighting design; Kitty Macey, costume design; Steve Shull, sound design; and Joan Hart Willard, dialect coach.

The production is suggested for ages 12 and older.

Preview tickets are $5. Tickets for the three remaining performances are $15 for the general public, $12 for seniors, non-SUNY Oswego students and for college faculty and staff, and $7 for SUNY Oswego students.  To purchase tickets, visit http://tickets.oswego.edu or call the Tyler Hall Box Office at 312-2141.

Parking in campus lots is free on weekends and evenings. Patrons with disabilities should call the box office manager at 312-2141.

PHOTO CAPTION: Vampire influence—Lucy Seward (Jessica Quindlen) treads a fine line between romance and danger in this rehearsal image for the SUNY Oswego theatre department’s staging of “Dracula.” Vampire mania sweeps onto campus Oct. 14 to 17 for this forerunner of the genre.

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(Posted: Sep 16, 2010)

Tags: theatre