Maryland Entertainment Group stages original production of 'Dracula'
Take a journey deep into the Carpathian Mountains with members of Maryland Entertainment Group to meet an elusive count beginning Friday, Oct. 13, at Zion Reformed United Church of Christ for the company’s original production of “Dracula.”
The new adaptation is plot driven, according to MEG creative director Sam Little, who co-wrote the story with MEG veteran actor Seth Thompson.
“I’ve always loved the book, and as a producer, I also try to pick things that I think will be popular and that people will want to come see. But then when I actually started looking into ... play versions of the story, I found that there weren’t a lot of plays that were really focused on the plot of the book itself. So we got rather ambitious and we actually wrote our own script for it and adapted it from the novel,” Little said.
The Dark Prince is played by Andre Brown, who sees Dracula as a somewhat sympathetic character.
“(Dracula) wanted to be a part of the English society so that he could know what’s going on, so he could be a part of it. Because he feels like, as Dracula, that he’s not the prince that he once was. And so for him to remind people of who he is, he has to learn the new ways and the new traditions of his current society,” said Brown who recently portrayed Tom Robinson in MEG’s version of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Brown said he’s a big fan of horror movies, so that makes his role even more endearing to him.
“The only difference is the bloodsucking and the fangs and the coffin and stuff,” he said with a laugh.
Playing Dracula’s love interest Lucy is Marlena Devon of Hagerstown. Devon admitted she didn’t know much about the story before being cast.
“I’m a huge fan of ‘Buffy (the Vampire Slayer’), she said with a laugh. “I had never read the book before auditioning for the show, and when I heard about the character of Lucy I got really, really, really excited about it. And since then, I read the book, I rented the movie, I’m getting really nerdy about that now,” she said.
Devon, who also appeared in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” said the originality of the show adds to its appeal.
“Everything that you’re going to see here is so unique and we have had so much fun building it,” she said. “We get kind of geeked out ourselves when we put something that’s really awesome and has a lot of impact in it.”
“We use dance in a really creative way and there are some really exciting fight scenes, there’s a creepiness to the show. And I think people are gonna be blown away,” she said.
Anne Hunt, who plays Mina Murray, said the show goes beyond the creepiness.
“If you go back to the heart of the novel to what Bram Stoker wrote, you have a beautiful story of love and it is spooky but it has this theme of light over darkness or Christ overcoming evil, and I think that’s it’s something that is awesome at this time of year to research and learns about,” Hunt, who most recently played Imogin in MEG’s production of “Cymbeline,” said.
Still, the fresh take on the 1897 novel, makes the show worth seeing.
“It’s completely original,” Little said.
“We’ve worked together as an ensemble, as a company, to build something from scratch, minus that it came from Bram Stoker’s novel. But every other aspect of that has been a group effort and a collaborative theater experience that if you love this story, and it’s so appropriate for the time period, Halloween ... you’re gonna get so much out of it and in a new creative way that you’ve never seen before,” he said.
Those who aren’t “Dracula” fans, can still enjoy the show.
“There’s a lot of great characters. And the storyline is really captivating. It was really difficult at some points to put all the great stuff that was in the novel into the play, but when you condense it down into these gems of moments throughout the play, it really is a fun, adventure story,” Little said. “But if you don’t know anything about ‘Dracula’ or the supernatural stuff, the plot itself is very intriguing to watch.”