Company Carolina's "Dracula"
Company Carolina’s “Dracula” delivered just the right dose of vampire antics to get audiences into the Halloween spirit, but ultimately felt over-dramatic and slow-paced simultaneously. Featuring familiar horror characters and fear-inducing fangs, the show grasped for something classic by paying homage to the 1931 film “Dracula.”
“Dracula,” directed by Jesse McGuire, was the first show of Company Carolina’s horror-themed fall season. It opened with a bang — literally — as loud heartbeat-like noises and clock chimes along with eerie howls and barks, hinted that Dracula was near.
The set and costumes were consistent throughout, giving “Dracula” a 1930s setting full of tweed coats and tea-length skirts. The three main characters — Dr. Seward, John Harker and Van Helsing — attempted to hold down the majority of the show with lengthy monologues and semi-heated arguments, but in the end the audience seemed too distracted by their poor English and eastern European accents to fully understand the first half hour of the show.
The main relief came in the form of character actors — the sassy maid, the fumbling medical attendant, the insane patient Renfield and, of course, Dracula himself. After struggling to keep up with Van Helsing’s numerous and random epiphanies, Dracula’s presence on the stage was more anticipated rather than dreaded by the audience.
The show was able to produce a sense of mystery despite the public’s general familiarity with the story of Dracula. While green and red lighting — followed by loud quickening beats — marked Dracula’s entrance, the audience remained at the edge of their seats wondering what the monster would do next.
While Dracula had no problem playing off of the other characters and audience reactions, other relationships struggled, such as the triangle of father (the doctor), daughter (Lucy) and fiancé (Harker). Dracula was clever, funny and believable, despite the Twilight-lined jokes that surround his persona.
But his death at the end, while necessary, came off as rushed and disappointing.
The director’s goal was to unearth the horror that used to be associated with vampires before pop culture got ahold of them. And while “Dracula” did create a monster worthy of fear, the show seemed amateurish and unrehearsed at times. Tapping into the old-fashioned horror from where today’s monsters originate was a little too ambitious and ultimately unsatisfying.
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