Santa Maria Sun / Art
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 31
Fright nightsLompoc Civic Theatre will offer up some laughs and scares with its production of Count Dracula
BY SHELLY CONE
There’s something strange going on around Dr. Seward’s Asylum for the Insane, and it’s not just the antics of the patients. A difficult patient, a sick young ward, and a mysterious newcomer create the setup for a spooky and humorous evening as Lompoc Civic Theatre presents Count Dracula by Ted Tiller.
Based on Bram Stoker’s 19th Century novel Dracula, this witty stage adaptation is exciting and thrilling—with a few laughs thrown in as well.
The story takes place at Dr. Seward’s asylum as the doctor himself (Paul Thornton) is dealing with a difficult patient, Renfield (Zachary Schmidt) and a new resident across the valley who happens to be a foreign count named Dracula (Cliff Culver). Stranger still, no one has ever seen the count during the day.
Dr. Seward has his hands full as he tries to keep control of his asylum and keep his ditzy sister Sybil (Marian C. Stave) in check with the help of his assistants Hennessey (Russ Granger) and Wesley (John Fuentes). Meanwhile, Seward’s pretty young ward, Mina (Nikki Stark), becomes very ill after a visit from the count.
Mina’s fiancé Jonathan (Peter Mustain) arrives just in time to help Seward and his old friend, Professor Van Helsing (Derrick Nelson), battle to save her life.
The production is directed by longtime Lompoc Civic Theatre member Christine Jeszeck, who said audience members are in for a few scary surprises.
“I directed the same show 13 years ago, and it was so much fun and so well received, I decided to bring it back,” she said.
Three cast members from the original production will also perform in the upcoming production, including Marian C. Stave who has been with the theater since the beginning and who will reprise her role as Sybil from the original production.
“It’s been humorized, but it’s scary and thrilling and exciting with scary effects and creepy music,” Jeszeck said.
While the story has some funny bits, Jeszeck said the show is probably most appropriate for ages 10 and older.
“It’s more of a dramedy than a comedy, I guess,” she said.
Assistant and co-producer Barbara Kinoshita has lined up an extensive crew of costumers, props personnel, and lighting, sound, and special effects technicians for the show. Designing the intricate set along with Jeszeck is LCT’s master set builder Brent Gilmore.
Jeszeck said preparing the production has involved overcoming some challenges. Directing a cast of nine with a combination of veteran performers and some new to the theater world was one of them. Despite this, however, Jeszeck said she’s proud to have such a talented cast and even one performer who will make his stage debut with Count Dracula.
Another challenge was the intricate set. Jeszeck couldn’t reveal many details, but the result will add some dimension to the play and up the scare factor.
Jeszeck said seeing Count Dracula is the perfect way to get in the mood for the spooks and scares of Halloween.
The upcoming season marks Lompoc Civic Theatre’s 40th anniversary, and to celebrate, the group will be bringing back some of its original productions. Count Dracula is kicking off the season of comebacks.
Arts Editor Shelly Cone still doesn’t get the seduction of vampires—or maybe she just hasn’t met the right one. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.