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Behind the scenes: “Dracula”

Kevin Kosicki Performing in the pre-show of “Dracula.” (Samantha Hill/The Seahawk)

The UNCW theater department put on a performance of a lifetime with the production of “Dracula.” Held in Kenan Auditorium, the show lasted for three weekends. Directed by Christopher Marino, the performance was a buzz for students on the Wilmington campus.

Marino, a professor at UNCW, has past experiences of putting together shows with young adults, such as his past work with Baltimore of Shakespeare Productions.

“We wanted to do something for Halloween,” said Marino, describing the inspiration for the show.

With a total of six weeks to prepare for the three-weekend performance, Marino managed to work closely with students to put on a near-perfect production. He wanted to allow an opportunity for students to perform in a large-scale production.

Before the main performance, a pre-show skit was performed at the door where audience members would get an introduction of “Dracula.” Kevin Kosicki, a junior at UNCW and pre-show Dracula, performed a “corny” version of the Dracula that most audience members are familiar with.

“This happens to be the first production and the biggest production I have been a part of so far,” said Kosicki.

Behind the scenes, there was a magical aspect that was introduced in the production. Matt Holtzcalw, professional magical illusionist, helped with the special effects that were performed on stage.

“Vampires talk before they bite people. So, how are they supposed to bite without blood in their mouths?” said Marino. This is where Holtzcalw stepped in. “Secret methods are done all with the sleight of hand,” said Marino.

Cole Warren, student and actor in “Dracula,” played the role of London Dracula and described the experience of using magic in the show. He worked with Holtzcalw for the special effects that were performed, as he played a role that used the majority of the magic.

Warren’s role as London Dracula is a performative role that he is proud of. He explains how this version of Dracula is a much darker version compared to what most audience members may think of.

“I had to put myself into a dark mindset,” Warren said. “The most important lesson that I have learned is finding a way out of a character compared to finding a way in.”

Cole Warren as Dracula and Lucy Westenra as George Bird in “Dracula.” (Samantha Hill/The Seahawk)

Emma Rombold, freshman at UNCW, spoke about how the technical production was impressive to watch. “The blood work is amazing,” she said. “Being able to watch these incredible professional students’ work on this has been amazing.”

Rombold described how she was a part of the use of the blood work in the production. In Act One, she describes a scene where all of the brides are eating the blood together on stage. “It’s so gross but it is so much fun to do together,” she said.

Rombold played the role of one of Dracula’s brides, and described how “Dracula” is her first production she is a part of at UNCW. “I am one of the creepy vampires you see crawling around that scare people,” Rombold said, describing her role.

“The brides have made the process fun,” she said. “I had to study specific movements and speech that Chris wanted us to perform.”

Rombold explained that being a freshman was scary coming into “Dracula” as this was her first ever college show.

“Everyone was extremely supportive of one another,” said Rombold.

Rachel Wilson as Reinfield and Andrew Page as Johnathan Harker in “Dracula.” (Samantha Hill/The Seahawk)

Andrew Page, a UNCW student who played the role of Johnathan Harker, defined the journey of Johnathan as a young man trying to ensure the plans for the Count’s move are successful but notices strange behavior in others around him.

Page explained how being a part of the production has taught him important lessons. As an actor, he tends to over perform, and in which Marino helped guide him to be more relaxed on stage with pointers and notes.

Page elaborated on how the accent was a challenge for him throughout the production as he had to learn a new way of speaking but ensuring that he was still putting on a performance.

“The accent was extremely hard for me,” said Page. “Chris would give me a list of words that I mispronounced.”

Students spent countless hours a week rehearsing scenes and lines to create a thrilling performance. “We would do almost four to five scenes a night,” said Page. “But some days we would only get one act done a day.” Monday through Thursday afternoons and nights were dedicated to perfecting the performance of a lifetime.

“I wanted to give students an opportunity to do something big,” said Marino. “The students have come together to share a wonderful story.”

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