It’s officially October – the leaves have changed colour, we’ve had our turkey and pumpkin, now the only thing left to do is get dressed up and scare ourselves on Halloween. What show could be more perfect for Walterdale Playhouse to mount than Dracula?
Bram Stoker’s entire novel won’t be portrayed in the theatrical adaptation of the classic novel, but Nelson Niwa, who plays Professor Van Helsing, says, “it is actually quite faithful, even some of the dialogue is lifted straight from Stoker’s novel… The thing I noticed that makes the most sense as far as streamlining it is, in the novel there’s the three suitors for Lucy and they are mentioned but we only ever see one of them… It makes perfect sense to do something like that for moving the action along… [Also] the chase, towards the end of the novel where they are going out and tracking down Dracula – in the novel it talks about how they’re going through the mountains and thinking this and doing that. The chase [in the play] is a chase! There’s three locations on stage and we each – I don’t think anyone speaks a full sentence, we’re speaking in sentence fragments and it bounces back and forth. It really conveys the increased pace of, ‘we’re on a hunt and time is of the essence and we have to find this guy and this is how we’re going about doing it’… You cover a lot of ground through how that’s laid out.”
Dracula needs no introduction. The 1867 novel, while apparently not an immediate best seller, has become influential in the 20th century. Nelson describes the novel as, “one of the early horror stories – there are aspects that are really creepy and there’s a reason we’re doing this right before Halloween… It’s not a slasher, but at the same time – it’s Dracula! Blood has an important supporting role… Of course, the vampiric metaphor is about seduction, and in a lot of cases, rape. Of being drawn in against your will to this intimate experience. It [will give you] a good case of the willies for the season.”
Boosting Dracula’s chilling script will be a fantastic technical team, Nelson says. “We’re doing some really neat things, we have some fantastic people involved on the technical side. Our makeup is being done by one of the best makeup artists in Western Canada. [We’re doing] cool things with blood and fire and teeth and you know, you could say ‘gory things’.”
– Jenna Marynowski