At the April 13 dress rehearsal for Wilcox Stage Company’s “Dracula,” a non-musical play with musical accompaniment, a team of spirited dancers and a well-spoken cast of Wilcox High School students told the story of a vampire venturing from Transylvania to Los Angeles in 1987.
“Dracula thinks he has found this woman he was in love with hundreds of years ago in this woman named Lucy Westenra,” said Claire Robson, Director, Production Manager and Instructor for Wilcox’s Theater Productions class. “But Lucy is engaged to a man named Jonathan Harker. So, Dracula makes a plan to try and steal her away.”
According to Robson, the goal was to take a horror classic and put a 1980s spin on it, with some campy humor typical of ’80s films.
“The students have added ad libs to the script to make the show more ’80s,” Robson said. “The costumes reflect colors, patterns and dress forms from the ’80s. The students are dancing to ’80s music. We are dancing to ‘Thriller’ at the end during the final bows, which we added to the script.”
Instrumentals from George Michael’s “Careless Whisper,” Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive,” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” are among other ’80s music played in the show.
Participating in the play as an extracurricular activity is Nathan Grande, 17, cast as Count Dracula.
“I am not a fan of vampires,” Grande said. “I don’t see the appeal of an old pasty white man preying on young women. I read Dracula’s lines. Then I was told by Ms. Robson that Dracula is a very flamboyant character. The final nail in the coffin, when I thought, yes, I could do this, was seeing the ’80s outfit with the latex pants and biker jacket that Dracula would wear.”
“The real challenge doing any line for any script in any play is knowing the timing and beats,” Grande continued of learning his part. “With the timing and the beats, you have to pace out your words and speak slow enough so the audience can understand you. But you also want to maintain the momentum of the scene.”
A particularly comedic scene in the play occurred in the second act when Dracula was taking Lucy’s blood and Charles, the butler, played by Sav Green, 17, mistook Lucy’s bedroom for the bathroom. Dracula attempted to hypnotize Charles. But because of Charles’s poor eyesight, he was unaffected by Dracula’s spell.
“Charles is the comedic character you’d see in an ’80s TV show,” Green said. “He clarifies things for the audience. He has his little interview in the third act where he recaps what he has seen, such as seeing Dracula in Lucy’s room and overhearing Lucy telling her parents Dracula was hiding out at Boddy Manor in Los Angeles.”
“I’ve been in the Theater Productions class for six semesters in three years,” Green continued. “In this class, I learned that if you’re really nervous, you should channel that energy into your performance.”
Wilcox Stage Company’s “Dracula” is running at the Mission City Center for Performing Arts on April 28 and 29 and May 5 and 6 at 7:00 p.m. Go to gofan.co and search for “Wilcox High School, Santa Clara” to buy tickets.