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Preview: Dracula

By Claire P. Tan, Contributing Writer

October 28-30, November 3-5, 7 p.m.

Loeb Experimental Theater

Directed by Valeriya Tsitron ’14

Produced by Madeleine F. Bersin ’14 and Gabrielle M. Walti ’14

With a set designed as an interior of a church of imposing Gothic arches, “Dracula”—Bram Stoker’s classic 1897 novel—is cast in dark religious symbolism. It is with deliberate intent that the realm of the supernatural, the unfathomable, and the afterlife are explored in the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club’s adaptation.

The play’s time-honoured plot is familiar. When Lucy Westenra (Mikhaila R. Fogel ’15) falls ill, her friend Mina Murray (Lelaina E. Vogel ’15), suitor Dr. John Seward (William R. Montgomery ’15), Professor Van Helsing (Anthony J. Sterle ’11), and Jonathan Harker (John F. Morton ’15) seek to discern the cause of her ailment. Soon, Mina’s frightful trances leading her to the calls of a mystic creature make it evident that she is under the influence of dark and sinister vampire Count Dracula (Peter K. Bestoso ’14), who has traveled from Transylvania to bustling London. What distinguishes this play from other adaptations is its faithful commitment to this text.

“This [rendition] is much more true to the original novel, and it takes itself a little more seriously,” says Bestoso. While this adaptation of “Dracula” follows conventionality in creating a harrowing and eerily supernatural atmosphere, its images of torment and nightmares also resonate with reality.

Director Valeriya Tsitron ’14 illustrates this close relationship with reality through Renfield (Joey J. Kim ’15), an inmate in an asylum who suffers from delusions that compel him to eat living creatures. “The play seeks to be as believable as you can be with something supernatural. I really want it to scare people with the idea of a man trapped inside his head, because that can happen to any one of us,” she says.

This bone-chilling concept is complemented by a set (Brenda Lin ’12) inspired by M. C. Escher’s artwork, drawing upon illusions such as staircases leading to nowhere. Thoughtful choreography (Christine A. Maroti ’14) also lends a profoundly sensual dimension, reflecting the book’s theme of freedom from oppression. “Movement tells a story in a different way than words can,” says Maroti, who uses choreography to underscore the subtle dimensions that are suggested but unspoken in the script.

With an untold twist at the end where characters have to make a decision regarding Dracula, this adaptation throws in the surprise and excitement characteristic of the supernatural unknown and hopes to create a classy portrayal of one legendary and notorious figure, Count Dracula.

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