WPU’s Dracula Features More Than Effects

By Shannon Turner

People are being bitten and drained.  A rat is opened and its blood is drunk.  There are wooden stakes, fangs, and blood in all manner of things.  Are you too afraid to see?

William Peace University Theatre will present Dracula from Oct. 16-20 in Leggett Theatre.  Wednesday through Saturday have shows a 7:30 p.m, with a matinee showing at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.  Tickets are free for theatre students, $5 for all other students, $10 for seniors and alumni, and $15 for anyone else who would like to attend.  It is approximately two hours long, and has a 10 minute intermission.

Dracula is unlike any other show Peace has done before.  Wade Newhouse, the program director for theatre, is directing the show.  He shares that despite the explosive effects and variety of scenes, the student actors are the ones that make Dracula desirable to see.

“The story comes down to the stories that the actors tell,” said Newhouse. “Ultimately the show works because of the student actors who do it, not because of the fog, and smoke, and the bats, and the blood and all that stuff.”

The story of Dracula is based on the legendary Translyvanian vampire who continually seeks out new victims.  The other characters make a valiant attempt to stop him, but there is love, hate, and a lot of blood along the way.

Students have worked on this show since the beginning of September. They will be using Steven Dietz’s 1996 script for the show, which uses aspects from several different Dracula films and stories.  Peace’s presentation will include special effects, stage combat, and some underlying societal issues.

Dracula will feature more than just the effects.  Nicholas Davis, the stage manager for Dracula, is excited to present this show because of its duality and the things the actors have to do on stage.  Dracula is very dark and can be very gory, but he believes there are strong relationships between the characters despite that.

“It’s extremely big in intimacy and stage combat. This show deals with a lot of stuff that will make the actors uncomfortable which is a big reason why we did it,” Newhouse said.  “We’re keeping all the intimate romantic moments along with the combat.”

Lilly Mills, a senior theatre major at Peace, will star as Dracula.  She will not be playing a man as pronouns will stay the same as he/him/his.  Lilly says this is to make it more genderless, and the level of intimacy in the show will not be affected.  This show touches on the idea of sexual assault, and she hopes the audience takes a deeper look into it.

“Dracula represents Victorian oppression and how people during that time they felt about sexuality and the liberation of that, which is exciting but dangerous,” Mills said. “I think it’s easy as college students to go in and be like ‘whoo sex!’ instead of thinking about the dangers that we’re trying to talk about.”

Tickets are sold online and at the door.  Check out https://www.peace.edu/about/william-peace-theatre/ for more info.

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