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Cover Up Your Neck, Dracula Is Coming To Town

first_imgBy Mary Ann BourbeauWEST LONG BRANCH – Get out the garlic and the wooden crosses. Count Dracula is making his way to Monmouth University on Feb. 11.Bram Stoker’s classic story will be performed on stage at the Pollak Theatre by L.A. Theatre Works, a nonprofit media arts organization based in Los Angeles. Its mission for the last 25 years has been to present classic and contemporary plays using a combination of audio theater and innovative technology in its productions, with intricate sound designs and on-stage special effects.“It’s like a hybrid of traditional theater and radio theater done with costumes, light and sound, but the players stand in front of microphones,” said Alexis Jacknow, who plays the character Mina. “The actors don’t interact with each other in the traditional format, so it requires the audience to engage with us and use their imagination.”In Charles Morey’s adaptation for the stage, Count Dracula makes his way to Victorian London, bringing along the native Transylvanian soil he needs for rest and protection during the daylight hours. London’s citizens are helpless against this fanged demon and his attempts to lure people – especially beautiful young women – to accompany him in his cursed existence in the life of the undead. The smart and resourceful Dr. Van Helsing attempts to find Dracula’s lair and pierce the vampire’s heart with a wooden stake in order to put an end to the carnage.The sound effects are administered in plain view so the audience can see how it’s all done. A small door is opened and closed whenever someone enters or leaves a room. The clicking of scissors mimics the sound of an old-fashioned typewriter. Celery is cracked into a microphone when Dracula breaks someone’s neck.“That’s how they used to do it back in the days of live radio plays,” Jacknow said.Jacknow’s character, Mina, is a strong female who, along with the men, is determined to rid the city of the vampire in their midst.“Dracula kills her best friend early in the show, and she makes it her mission to take this man down,” Jacknow said. “She will do whatever it takes to eradicate evil. She has energy, brains and diligence. She’s kind of a badass.”L.A. Theatre works was formed 40 years ago, and its company of actors has included John Lithgow, Paul Giamatti, Neil Patrick Harris and Annette Bening. Since the launch of its national touring company in 2005, the organization has brought live radio drama to more than 200 venues across the country.Though the horror novel was written in 1897, the story of Dracula still endures.“He’s sexy, thrilling and scary,” said Jacknow. “It’s Gothic, romantic erotica.”L.A. Theatre Works has an audio theater collection of more than 400 recorded plays that are available at public libraries and on iTunes and Audible.com. The company’s weekly public radio show is heard by 7 million listeners each year and is available on demand, free of charge, at www.latw.org.“Dracula” will be staged at 7 p.m. on Feb. 11. The show is 90-minutes long with no intermission. Tickets are $38 – $58. For more information, call 732-571-3400 or visit www.monmouth.edu.Arts and entertainment writer Mary Ann Bourbeau can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @MaryAnnBourbeau.last_img

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