Volume 10 Week 23

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(Posted April 15)
Sir Wil goes old school in high school production of 'Dracula'
By Fred Sherwin
Orleans Online

Mina, played by Rachel Jeffries, holds Count Dracula in her arms after driving a stake through his heart in the final scene of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School production of 'Dracula'. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Before there was Twilight, or The Vampire Diaries. Before there was Angel, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there was the one and only Dracula, written by Bram Stoker over 100 years ago.

It's doubtful the Irish novelist could have ever imagined that his story about the Transylvannian Count Dracula would one day become a multi-million dollar franchise.

While 99.9 per cent of teenagers today are familiar with the earlier titles I mentioned, very few know anything about the original.

When the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School Theatre Arts Production Club was tossing ideas around for their annual spring production, they decided to bring the original story, and Count Dracula, to life.

The script is a popular high school adaptation of the Bram Stoker's novel written by Steven Dietz.

The play opened with friends Lucy Westerna and Mina Murray teasing each other in Lucy's bedroom in London, England. Lucy is eager to here all about Mina's relationship with her boyfriend Mr. Harker, while Mina wants Lucy to spill the beans about her many suitors, especially Dr. Seward who runs an insane asylum.

After the two part ways, Mina pulls out a letter from harker in which he tells he about going to see a famous count in the Transylvannian region of the Carpathian Mountains. As she recites the letter the author gets more and more anxious about the Count's castle.

In the second scene we are introduced to the young Dr. Seward and one of his patients, a mad man named Renfield who must remain locked up for his own protection.

Harker goes partially made from his encounter with dracula and ends up in a sanitarium in Budapest. He eventually makes his way back to London, with Dracula following closely behind.

Soon after their arrival in England, Dracula has a chance encounter with Lucy and puts her in a trance before biting her neck. As Lucy's transforms into a vampire and her condition worsens Dr. Seward sends for Professor Van Helsing, a Dutch doctor who dabbles in the occult.

In order to keep Lucy safe, they isolate her in a guest room in the asylum, but it is too late. Rather than let her join the ranks of the undead they drive a stake through her heart and release her from Dracula's hold.

In the meantime, Dracula gains entry to the asylum where Mina has been left unguarded. Believing she is the reincarnation of his former wife, Dracula bites her neck and drinks her blood with the intention of making her his Queen. But before they can get away, Harker, Dr. Seward and Professor Van Helsing return and Dracula escapes without her.

Our heros follow Dracula to Transylvannia with Mina, who has Dracula's blood coursing through her veins, leading the way.

In the final scene, Harker, Dr. Seward and Van Helsing are about to be overcome in hand-to-hand combat with Dracula and his vixens when Mina drives a stake through Dracula's heart to release him from his eternal torment. When Dracula dies, Mina is released from his bond.

While the plot may sound extremely dark the Sir Wilfrid Laurier cast did their best to keep it fairly light-hearted. Nick Moolenbeek was quite good as the young Dr. Seward. At several points in the play, Dr. Seward's mood would verge on the hysterical, causing Moolenbeek's voice to crack.

Andrew Gaucher was superb in the lead role of Dracula. His accent was bang on, and his stage presence was riveting.

Lauren Griffth as Lucy, and Rachel Jeffries as Mina, also did an excellent job, especially considering they are both still in Grade 10 as is Trevor Desjardins, who did a superb job in the role of Professor Van Helsing.

The remaining principal actors were Andrew Pearson, who had the difficult task playing the rather complicated role of Harker, and Gina Giamberardino who deserves a CAPPIE nomination for her role as Renfield. Her over the top performance as Dracula's mad disciple, was worth the price of admission, especially the scene where he spits out a a few feathers after dining on bird he kept in his cell.

The remaining cast members included Caroline Trippenbach, Meg Atkinson, Alex Bondesen, Kelly Korim, who played Dracula's vixens; Drew Ledingham who played his assistant; Natasha Gaucher, Sarah Blanchette and Stephanie Allen who played the maids; and Gillian Johnston who played the insane asylum attendant and the Old Transylvannian Woman.

Special mention as well to Kyle Newman, who wrote and provided the musical accompaniment on piano, as well as the entire chorus and crew for putting on a superb show.


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