Spend Halloween with the world’s most legendary vampire.
“Dracula” will be performed by the Walters State Music and Theatre Department on Halloween. Other performances are Oct. 25-27 and Nov. 1-3. Sunday performances are at 2:30 p.m., with others beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Director T.J. Kent knows that vampires are popular with his students and with the public in general now. Television shows like “True Blood” and novels and books like “Twilight” created a sub-generation with a distorted view perhaps pop culture’s most enduring characters.
“While vampire legends have been traced to ancient times, Bram Stoker really defined the vampire with his character. This production takes the audience back to the original Dracula. Now, vampires have become romanticized and almost friendly. You would not want to be friends with Dracula,” Kent said.
“Don’t get me wrong. Dracula is very charismatic. He can be charming. In the end, though, he wants your life. From the time he meets you, he’s thinking about killing you for your blood. That’s scary. For horror movie fans, this goes back to the basics,” Kent said.
Taylor Ferrell stars as Mina and Lagado Rainey is Dracula – but Kent is quick to point out that Dracula is the title character, not necessarily the star. Since the book is based closely on the classic 1897 Bram Stoker novel, the vampire doesn’t get a lot of stage time.
“The real stars are the vampire hunters, Mina and Van Helsing,” Kent said. Helsing is played by Luke Walker. While Kent says the young actors do a great job, he stops at praising one over the other.
“I choose ensemble pieces. This production requires a substantial amount of time and effort from everyone: the stage manager, the designers, the costume managers and lighting technician. All roles are vital. This cast and crew have been working together and have put in many hours. I’m very proud of them and can’t wait for everyone to see the show,” Kent said.
The cast includes many new faces to the Morristown theatre scene. A few are familiar favorites.
Micah Keck plays Harker; Ashley Kelley, Lucy; Caleb Weddington plays Seward; Nathan McGhee plans Renfield and Tanna Purkey plays the maid. Taylor Robinette, Dani Tower and Skylar Trent are vixens. Taylor Creech and Chelsea Schurig are attendants.
“Dracula” has some unique production challenges. The actors enjoyed being fitted for fangs. The crew has also learned how to handle a lot of stage blood during rehearsals.
Kent does caution that the fake blood – and the violence that causes it – may be too much for young ones.
“Obviously, it’s about a vampire. The play has no foul language or sexuality but there’s a good amount of violence and some scary moments,” Kent said. He added that most people 12 years old and up will enjoy the play while the play is not for those under six or seven years old. For those in-between, parents should use their own judgment.
Performances will be in the theatre of the Judge William H. Inman Humanities Complex on the Morristown campus. To reserve a seat, contact the Division of Humanities at (423) 585-6922 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased at the box office thirty minutes before the show begins. Prices are $12 for adults; $10 for senior citizens and $5 for students.