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Company Carolina brings fangs, flesh

It’s sure to be bloodthirsty.

That’s what the directors and producers at student theater group Company Carolina say about their upcoming fall season. After putting on shows like “Legally Blonde” and “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” last year, the group is going in a slightly different direction this year with productions of “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Dracula.”

“It’s very much a creepy vibe,” said McKenzie Millican,  one of Company Carolina’s associate producer and the producer of “Dracula.”

Producing publicity director  Catherine Clark attributed the trend to the applications the organization received during the selection process for the season, which consisted of directors submitting applications for the shows they desired to produce and describing the fresh perspective they’d bring.

“There is an application process for every semester, so anyone is welcome to submit, but we’re really excited to be working with them, especially because applications are sometimes few and far in between,” Clark said.

We don’t usually do themed seasons, but we definitely think in terms of marketing, it will be an easy way to keep everything together — keep Company Carolina in students’ minds.”

One of the selected directors is sophomore Jesse  McGuire, a Company Carolina newcomer, a self-described vampire lover and the student heading up “Dracula.”

“We’re going to revamp ‘Dracula’ and take it out of this cliche, old story about some dude with fangs,” she said. “We’re going to make it classy again. It’s going to be fang-tastic.”

In addition to the shift into the ghoulish, Company Carolina is also working on developing technical theater workshops to draw students to the production process.

“Obviously, we’re interested in actors, but anyone interested in any aspect of design or building or tech, we’re willing to teach,” Millican said. “We want to get new faces involved — we’re really excited about that.”

Clark said Millican approached her and producing artistic director Duri Long about the project earlier in the year and thought the idea would benefit the company.

“It’s McKenzie’s idea, so we’re just in the beginning stages of figuring it out, but a lot of times, we get students who are interested in theater and don’t know where to start,” she said.

The workshops will teach students more about the world of technical theater, including lighting, sound, set design and set building. While the workshops will take the Company Carolina name, they will also be open to students outside of the theater group in an effort to increase involvement in the shows.

McGuire said the new tone and the open-arms attitude are good changes for the company.

“Company Carolina is really pushing themselves, which is the goal of theater — to always try new things and see how it works,” she said. “And Company Carolina is jumping in with both feet.”

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