What is Dracula?
Chances are, you have heard about Palmer High School’s Masque and Sandal fall play: Dracula. You’ve seen the flyers posted everywhere, heard the performers talking about “hell week,” and most likely know what Dracula is about. While you might know what Dracula is about, how well do you know the cast members in the show? Would you like to know what goes on behind-the-scenes?
Behind the Scenes: The Mad Rush of Rehearsals
The actors in Dracula have rehearsals an average of eight hours per week, which is divided up into two hours after school Monday-Thursday. I was allowed to sit “in the house” and watch the rehearsal, during which time I was able to note several interesting things. For one, the atmosphere of the theatre was very warm and friendly. The actors socialized before rehearsals officially began, but when Ms. Labandt, the director, called them to attention, they immediately stopped the chatter and paid close attention to everything she said. It was clear that the cast members all respected Ms. Labandt and were passionate about what they were doing.
The performers were all convincing, showing an interest in what they were doing and a deep understanding of the characters. Theo Collins, who plays Dr. Seward, was very good at miming out all of the stage directions, although he had no props to use. The actor playing Jonathan Harker was very good at projecting his voice, a key part of acting in case microphones stop working. If people got irritated with each other, the cast worked it out amongst themselves, showing maturity and the ability to figure things out on their own. Because of the environment of open, non-judgmental happiness, each actor feels comfortable sharing their opinions on the script and stage directions with the others.
Meet the Cast!
Ezekiel “Zeke” Redfern, who portrays Jonathan Harker in Dracula, is a freshman at Palmer High School. He is extremely excited for the play because it is his first really big production. He loves to be onstage and says that while it can be difficult to memorize his lines, acting is easy and a lot of fun to do once he’s got the lines down. Zeke finds it quite annoying when people forget their lines, say the wrong thing, are in the wrong place, or don’t know what to do. He admits he might be a bit of a hypocrite for saying this. He feels very lucky to have gotten a lead as a freshman and is very glad to be a part of the show. Nene, who is Renfield, is more of a panic-based actor. She tends to do most of her memorizing at the last minute. She laughingly says that she does not have to act in order to portray the crazy Renfield. If she is really stuck on something, she will watch the movie and see how that actor set the scene. The hardest part of being in this play is that there is an age difference between her and a lot of the cast, so she feels that there is an unspoken boundary between them. Nicholas Ulloa, Van Helsing, has only one real pet peeve: having to sit in the auditorium and watch other cast members learning their blocking. He says that the stage is his home, and where he loves to be. The coveted role of Dracula is played by Samuel Kruzlik, who wants to let you know that unless you come to the show, he will personally beat you up (said with a smile).
How do I see Dracula?
Dracula’s performances are on November 11th, 12th, and 13th at 7pm. For general admission it is $8, while students get in for only $5. They only accept cash payments!