Drama is in their blood

Published 9:51 pm Thursday, November 15, 2012

King’s Fork High students in costume Thursday for that night’s opening performance of “Dracula.” Drama teacher Jennifer Miguel adapted the script from the original Bram Stoker novel.

Halloween was a few weeks ago, but no matter — King’s Fork High School’s stage production of gothic horror tale “Dracula” is set to chill the blood all the same.

The school’s Dog Pound Players opened the show Thursday night, with more performances scheduled through Saturday.

A cast of about 25, together with a crew of 15-odd, are bringing drama teacher Jennifer Miguel’s truncated, but true to form, version of Bram Stoker’s classic Victorian novel for the first time.

Email newsletter signup

“Dracula is my favorite book and I want to bring it to the stage, so I wrote my own stage adaptation,” Miguel said.

Most characters from the book are included, such as the vampire-slaying team of young lawyer Jonathan Harker, madhouse-keeper Dr. John Seward, swashbuckling American Quincey Morris and, of course, their fearless leader, Van Helsing.

King’s Fork students also play Dracula-meals Mina Murray and Lucy Westenra, while Seward’s lunatic patient Renfield is rendered by a female student and Marc Sullivan, a junior at the school, brings to life the dastardly count with his epic lust for blood.

Sullivan said he watched a lot of movies with vampires to prepare for the role. “Then I tried to make it my own,” he said, adding that his Dracula is “angsty.”

While Stoker’s book is famous as much for the way it’s told, through letters between characters, journal entries and newspaper articles, as for its compelling story, Miguel said her version, in order to make it more stage-friendly, takes a more straightforward approach, with regular dialogue.

“I tried to put it in chronological order as much as I could,” she said. “It’s still told from the points of view of the various characters, but you see the scenes happen.”

“We’re ignoring the wolf change completely,” she added, referring to the count’s lupine transition en route from Transylvania to England. “We’re really keeping it as minimalist as possible.”

The production’s Victorian costumes, rented as well as borrowed from the Poquoson Island Players, help bring a level of authenticity.

Freshman Erika Clark, who says she has performed on stage twice before, is playing two characters, including Murray, one of the count’s midnight snacks.

“I’m just a little bit nervous,” Clark said, adding that she reviewed her lines Wednesday night. “I believe I’m ready.”

Audiences can see the show at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $5 at the school auditorium door.