Dracula is 'fangtastic'!

Posted by Dracula Assistant Director Lindsey Elderkin

The first weekend of Dracula is under our belts, and the cast is getting some much needed rest. To say that our tech week was a breeze is usually not the case for any show, but for Dracula, and all of our special effects, it was a MONSTROUS feat (pun TOTALLY intended). 

 Prior to our two performances this past weekend, tech week for both cast and crew was one of the most difficult tech weeks I honestly can say I’ve ever had, but also the most rewarding as it all came together. Luckily, we were able to perform all of our hard work for TWO sold-out houses.

Director JoBeth Cruz sent me an email after she cast the show asking me to participate as assistant director. Immediately, I understood her vision, and after hearing all of her ideas for the show, I was ecstatic to begin working. But, we are only as great as our team, and with the help of theater connections JoBeth and I knew in various parts of the Northwest Indiana and Chicago-land area, we acquired a group of knowledgeable go-getters who helped make our vision a reality. 

Thanks to an amazing team, we have pyrotechnics, fake blood and fight choreography, eerily beautiful costumes, artistic lighting, intricate set pieces, projected photography and videos, an original sound design, and fog…tons and tons of fog.

 I think the most humbling and exciting thing I have learned from my first experience at CST with so many talented cast and crew members is that everyone really does have the same vision; we volunteer our time to put on the best possible production for you, the audience. We spend countless hours at the theater perfecting our characters, pyrotechnics, set pieces, etc. because we want you to enjoy a night out with family and friends.

So, as scary as tech week was for us, we are pleased to be able to now scare the pants off all of you! Come see our “fangtastic” show!

 

Q&A with 'Dracula' Director JoBeth Cruz

 Q: "Dracula" is a very old story. Why do you think it still resonates with audiences today?

A: Dracula is a timeless story of good versus evil.  When the legend of Dracula the vampire was first committed to paper by Bram Stoker, it was during the Victorian age.  The Victorians were fascinated by the supernatural and the occult. Vlad Dracul was a ferocious warrior and protected his homeland from the invasion of the Turks.  Vlad’s methods for dealing with his enemies garnered him the name Vlad the Impaler.  He would take the prisoners of war and impale them on stakes outside the walls of his castle.  He was also known to dine among the dying men, prompting the locals to think he was drinking the blood of his enemies.  Thus began the legend that Vlad was a vampire.     

Q: Can you describe the modern adaptation by William McNulty?

A: Dracula is not a love story or some romantic tale.  Mr. McNulty has taken the original 1926 script and turned it into something that today’s audiences would be much more in tune with.  Mr. McNulty wanted to produce a true horror story on stage and I think he has succeeded.  This is a dark show with violence and blood, as close to the horror genre as I could get on our stage!

Q: Is this a play that will appeal to all ages?

A: Not sure I would really say all ages!  It is definitely a thriller with lots of blood and special effects.  I’m sure the middle schoolers will love it!  They boys will cheer, the girls with say “ewwww”!

Q: Are you costuming? How difficult is it to both direct and costume?

A: I always costume the shows I direct.  It is not as difficult as you might think.  I have a very clear vision of what I want for every show I direct, and that includes the costumes.  I usually know right where to find those costume items.  This play is set in 1898 Victorian England.  It is not a colorful production, rather is has the dark menacing tones of the time period.  The entire play takes place in a 24-hour period, so costume changes are not necessary.  The biggest challenge is dealing with the stage blood.  Without giving too much away, the amount of laundering required will likely demand each actor have several costumes as back-ups!

Q: Can you talk about the chemistry within the cast? 

A: Hopefully every cast has chemistry!  Due to the intimate nature of this show and the amount of physical contact between the actors, they can’t help but become a close-knit cast.   

'Dracula' cast list announced

Director JoBeth Cruz has announced the cast for Chicago Street Theatre's upcoming production of "Dracula." The play will be on stage Oct. 12-31, 2012. Tickets are available now by calling (219) 464-1636, Ext. 1.
Robert Renfield - Dan Matern
Mina Grant - Lindsey Elderkin
Monster - TBA
Margaret Sullivan - Daena Sisk
Abram Von Helsing - Earle Howe
Dr. Thomas Seward - Adam Woolever
Count Dracula - Matt McCann
The Child - Ione and Paloma Calvin, alternating
Norbert Briggs - Tom McNeill
Lucy Westphal - Kyrie Anderson
Jonathan Harker - Martin Weisenbacher