The Festival rounds out the fall season with Stephen Dietz’s adaption of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Before Twilight and True Blood, there was Dracula!
Tyler Pierce (Dracula) extends his stay from the summer season, where he appeared in King Lear and Henry IV, Part 2. Chris Mixon (Renfield) was last here in 2007 in Art. We chatted with them to learn more about the play and this production.
What are your thoughts about the play?
Tyler: It’s such a great story for the stage because it’s simple – it’s basically a chase story. You know as an audience that Dracula is evil. You know he’s not a good person. You come in knowing that. Each specific production is watching “how are they going to get him”. That’s what makes each production unique. This particular script does a really good job of theatricalizing “how are we going to get him.”
Talk about the characters.
Tyler: All of the characters are really archetypal. All of the themes are very broad and very grand. The idea of the castle, of a society that has burnt itself to the ground and needing literal fresh blood and nationalism and pride of home also comes into play. At its heart it’s a love story: Mina being the main love interest, between Harker and Mina and also between Dracula and Mina.
Chris: My role is terrific because he’s so torn. How am I going to be this crazy? How am I going to do my crazy? There usually is a reason why people are crazy and what justifies their obsessions. It’s a real journey. It’s a melodrama so there’s not much subtext. That’s a benefit. What you say is exactly what you mean and feel. We follow the road map of his degeneration.
Tyler: It’s interesting because the women in the show could be played in a way that is helpless. But these two actors (Kelly Rogers and Jamie Ann Romero) are really strong so there’s no danger of their appearing helpless. They are creating strong characterizations on stage. The women as a pair make a perfect foil for the kind of decadence that Dracula is.
Other thoughts about this production?
Chris: I’m thrilled to be working with Jesse Berger (the director). He’s a real actor’s director. He’s patient. He’s excited to be doing it. He will honor the play and playwright and the style. It’s going to be what the playwright envisioned.
Tyler: When you’re telling a story that people know, it’s not about surprising them. We’re trying to make this ride as enjoyable as possible because you’ve been on it before. I hope people come and are willing to enjoy the ride.