WAIMEA — Vampires have always shined around Halloween time, and the most famous vampire of all will be center stage on the island this October.
Waimea Community Theatre will premiere “Dracula” Friday at the Parker School Theatre in Waimea for a two-weekend run of the William McNulty play, followed by two shows at Honokaa People’s Theater. Directed by James Little, the play is a more dramatic turn for the theater troupe this year.
“It’s a drama, and it’s a bloody drama,” said Dedrie Miller, who plays the supporting character of Margaret Sullivan.
The play is recommended for those 13 or older, due to blood and violence, and the cast and crew said they aren’t holding back for this horror production.
“I want the audience to walk away like they just experienced something, not super traumatic, but something that will definitely come back to their mind later,” Jojo Gardner said.
Gardner plays the titular character, a vampire on a quest for ultimate power. “Dracula” is based off the classic novel by Bram Stoker, and follows the occupants of Purley Sanitorium as they begin to suffer when Dracula purchases the adjoining Carfax Abbey. Led by Professor Abram Van Helsing, they rise up in resistance against the monster.
Gardner said playing such an iconic character has been a stressful, but unbelievable experience.
“He sees what he wants and takes it. To him, everyone else in the play is people he gets to play with,” Gardner said. “So playing someone like that, it’s a little strange, because you have to — even though you’re the villain — put yourself in the hero’s shoes.”
Behind Gardner is a supporting cast of John Sucke as Professor Abram Van Helsing, Amy Mills as Dr. T.M. Seward, Bob Haber as Robert Renfield, Sarah Elliott as Lucy Westphal, Rich Givens as Jonathan Harker, J.D. Harsh as Norbert Briggs, Liberty Givens as Mina Seward and Tia O’Keefe-Howard and Noelle Quijano as the Brides of Dracula.
The cast promises plenty of terrifying scenes in the play for horror-loving audiences. Elliott said one of the scariest moments in the play comes at the hands of not Dracula, but the human characters.
“The scariest scene is where Doctor Seward and Van Helsing drive a stake through Mina,” Elliott said. “It’s just an intense moment.”
Rich Givens previously was behind the curtain as director for Waimea Community Theatre’s last production, “The Hobbit,” and said it’s a good feeling to be back on stage performing.
“I love the story, it’s like the classic tale of good and evil,” Givens said.
Mills said she has been drawing inspiration from her Christian faith to get into character during rehearsals, and she hopes the audience can see past the horror to the deeper meaning of the story.
“Many people might not come and see the play because they think it’s horrific and gory, but we deal with fighting evil every single day of our lives,” Mills said. “There’s a lesson in everything. Even if we’re met with a horrific adversary in Dracula, we can overcome those things if we have the right perspective in a sense if we try to understand what Dracula was.”
Info: Waimea Community Theatre’s production of “Dracula” will be running this weekend, Oct. 12-14, and Oct. 19-21. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7 p.m. and Sunday performances begin at 2 p.m. The play will also be at Honokaa People’s Theater Oct. 27 and Oct. 28. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. For more information, visit waimeacommunitytheatre.org.