• DRACULA haunts MPC

    October 30 to November 9. 2014

    Tickets on sale now!

    Call the MPC Theatre Box Office (831-646-4213) or visit online at www.mpctheatre.com

    About the Play DRACULA
    The play is based on the 1924 stage adaptation by Hamilton Deane of Bram Stoker’s novel, DRACULA. Produced in England, the play was revised for American audiences by John L. Balderston in 1927 when it moved to Broadway. This was the production that starred Bela Lugosi in his first major English-speaking role, which he reprised in the 1931 Universal film, also based on the Deane-Balderston stage version. The play has been restaged numerous times, and this 2008 adaptation by William McNulty, also based on the Balderston & Dean version, presents a decidedly creepy and unsettling version of Count Dracula.

    About the MPC Theatre production of DRACULADRACULA: L-R: Matthew Pavellas (Dracula), Melissa Kamnikar, Taylor Safina, Keeley Ostes (Dracula's Brides) Foreground: Matthew Pardue (Renfield)
    When it comes to vampires, MPC Theatre director Gary Bolen likes his to be “old school.”

    “I just don’t get the sparkly vampires that are apparently just fine with being out in the sun,” Bolen said. “I don’t mind if they’re southern and a little ‘white-trashy’ but seriously, they shouldn’t be able to satisfy their blood lust from a milk bottle of what looks like Bloody Mary mix.”
    This is not to say that the upcoming MPC Theatre Company production of William McNulty’s DRACULA is completely true to the original theatrical script which tends toward melodrama. “What attracted me to this version of the old story was the modern sensibility about the inherent sexiness in the attraction to Dracula and what happens when that takes hold with the animal part of the creature.”
    McNulty’s script has all of the tried and true elements of the well-known story: A stranger has taken up residence in the old abandoned Carfax Abbey close by Dr. Thomas Seward’s lunatic asylum. Soon, his inmates (one Robert Renfield in particular) start reacting even more bizarrely than normal, people are disappearing and the women in particular are affected. Enter vampire hunter Abram Van Helsing and the hunt for the new owner of Carfax – one Count Dracula (aka “Vlad the Impaler”) – is on. The ensuing chase and ultimate comeuppance of the Count is always satisfying. Interestingly, in this version of the story, the roles of Lucy and Mina are reversed from the way they are depicted in Bram Stoker’s famous novel.
    This particular script calls for a significant amount of special effects (many of them involving blood) and they are integral to the show. “We’ve got a great team that has been working overtime to find ‘creative’ solutions to some of these staging problems,” Bolen noted. “Unless you’re working on ‘Dexter’ you don’t think about blood spatter issues until you get involved in a show like this.” Costume designer Gloria Mattos Hughes has been working closely with set designer Carey Crockett and special effects coordinator David Rigmaiden (also doing sound) to create ways to fulfill the demands of the production and the expectations of the audience. Together, they’ve come up with items such as reinforced bodices that can withstand the impact of a stake being “driven through the heart” while protecting the actress being “dispatched” and protecting the costume from “blood spill.”
    “This is the only production I’ve been involved in on any level where we’ve had to have special ‘blood meetings’ during which we decide if we want blood to explode from the top of a stake or spray out the sides,” Bolen laughed (for the record: the explosion won out over the spray). A vampire’s lair rigged to smoke and “explode” upon contact with sunlight are also challenges to the staging.Taylor Safina (Bride), Matthew Pavellas (Dracula).
    Adding another unique element to the look of the production was the decision to go somewhat “steampunk” in the look for Dracula and his undead brides. The idea was that Dracula had lived over 500 years and would retain some of the look from all of the eras and that his brides would follow suit. “I think this gives him a more timeless look and makes the idea of Dracula a bit less stodgy,” Bolen stated. His outfit will feature boots that would not look out of place at a punk/Goth concert and colored “moon glasses” to conceal the monster’s gaze.

    In addition to the staff noted above, Eric Maximoff steps into the technical director role normally filled by Dan Beck (out as a result of back surgery) and Ana Maximoff is in charge of prop design. Dracula features Matthew Pavellas in the title role with Dale Thompson as Dr. Seward and James Brady as vampire hunter Abram Van Helsing. Taylour Matz returns to MPC Theatre in the role of Lucy while Anjolie Johnson is the doomed Mina. Matt Pardue plays the manic inmate, Renfield, and Lauren Hoelscher is the ever loyal (until she’s turned by Dracula) doctor’s assistant, Margaret Sullivan.

    With a special low price preview on the 30th, Dracula opens (appropriately) on Halloween – Friday, October 31st – and on that night there will be a costume contest for the audience to be judged by Dracula and his “undead” assistants. “We have it on good authority from the Count himself that any costume featuring the cross or garlic will be automatically eliminated from the competition,” noted an “anonymous” source.


    Gary Bolen, Chairman of the Theatre Arts Department at MPC, holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in Theatre from Cal State University Fullerton and an M.F.A. in Acting from UCLA. Most recently, Mr. Bolen appeared in the September 11th  themed Studio Theatre production of THE GUYS (2013). Previous appearances have been as George in CHAPTER TWO (2009) and as Max Bailystock in THE PRODUCERS (2009).   Recent directorial efforts include the highly acclaimed 2013 MPC production of the hit musical LES MISERABLES, as well as THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (2014), THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS (THE MUSICAL! – 2012), ONCE UPON A MATTRESS (2011), RENT (2009), and the recent 2014 presentation of OKLAHOMA!


    The creative team includes Gary Bolen (Director), Eric Maximoff (Technical Director), Carey Crockett (Scenic Design) Dani Maupin (Lighting Design), David Rigmaiden (Sound Design) Gloria C. Mattos Hughes (Costume Design), Megan Root (Stage Manager) and Ana Maximoff (Props Design).

    Performances run Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 PM (October 30 & 31, and November 1, 6, 7, and 8) and Sundays at 2:00 PM (November 2 & 9). Tickets are $25 for Adults and $22 for Seniors; $15 for Young Adults (16-21) & Active Military, and $10 for Children 15 & under. Adults and seniors can also purchase discount tickets 24-hours in advance for $20.00 each.

    Tickets are available from MPC Box Office, located on the Monterey Peninsula College Campus at 980 Fremont Street, downtown Monterey. The MPC Box Office (831-646-4213) is open Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM, and 2 hours prior to performances. Tickets are also available online at www.mpctheatre.com

    Campus Parking is required for Thursday evening performances and is $2.00 (exact bills)

    Thursday October 30 • 7:30 PM   (Discount preview)
    Friday October 31 • 7:30 PM (Halloween Opening)
    Saturday November 01 • 7:30 PM
    Sunday  November 02 • 2:00 PM
    Thursday November 06 • 7:30 PM
    Friday November 07 • 7:30 PM
    Saturday  November 08 • 7:30 PM
    Sunday November 09 • 2:00 PM – Closing performance


    posted to Cedar Street Times on October 18, 2014

    Topics: Front PG News, Arts & Music


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