The Pollard’s Dracula is a creepy night of Screams and Scares
The Pollard Theatre Company has faced its fair share of setbacks in the past year. The pandemic forced the closure of the 2020 season, and the historic theatre finally reopened for Season 34, In Good Company, in August 2021. A late summer storm caused extensive damage to the lighting and sound systems in the theatre, and the company was once again forced to cancel an upcoming production. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was slated for a full production, but with the theatre still in repair mode, an alternative option had to be utilized. Always the innovators, Artistic Director Jared Blount and company found a way to continue making live theatre, even without a venue.
The special one-night only event, Eat Drink and Be Scary, gives patrons the chance to experience Dracula in a unique way. Under the stars on the patio of the beautiful Mack and Ike’s bar, Dracula is presented via a live read-through. Prior to the show, patrons are treated to a whiskey tasting and snacks at Wander Folk Spirits, then return to their tables on the patio at Mack and Ike’s. The play is presented minimally, but there are some lighting and sound effects, and of course the ever-present coffin. The original cast for the planned production returns to read through their roles to the outdoor audience. The reading area is set up within the center of the seating area, and this creates an intimate, immersive experience for patrons.
The weather is just cool and spooky enough to create the perfect October backdrop for this haunting and dark play. Dakota Muckelrath is the quintessential vampire Count Dracula. Employing a velvety accent and a menacing demeanor, he embodies this iconic figure and chills the audience to the core. Tiffany Tuggle is haunting as Lucy. Van Helsing is portrayed expertly by David Fletcher-Hall. Keegan Zimmerman is commanding as Dr. Seward, Katy Hayes is Maid/Bride, Maurice Quintel is Attendant/Bride, and David Burkhart is Jonathan Harker. Always beautiful and captivating, Caprie Gordon is stunning as Mina. Jon Haque completes the cast as Renfield.
Staged readings are rarely seen in theatre, and they’re unique experiences that offer a new way to present a play. With a play as old as Dracula, every theatre company in town has done it, and everyone has probably seen it at least once. This paired down style of theatre brings the show down to the basics and makes every performer into an actor. In a staged reading, there is quite literally nothing to hide behind. Actors must show up and perform, and this cast does. Some moments throughout the night are unnervingly loud, which is fitting for a show that has startling moments throughout. Outdoor sound is hard to master as well. The often-present wind is in our favor and everyone is comfortable in the cool outdoor evening.
This staged reading serves as a fundraiser and a chance for The Pollard to present a show that they promised to their loyal patrons. Hopefully, Blount and company will be able to fully produce it in the near future. The casting works and has been vetted by a live audience. When they get a chance to perform this role in full, it’ll be an even spookier experience for Pollard patrons.
The Pollard does plan to return to live theatre inside their main location in historic downtown Guthrie. Just in time for Christmas, they will bring back It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. This production coincides with the Christmas festivities in downtown Guthrie and will sell out quickly. Casting information is not yet available but will be released soon.
For more information about tickets to upcoming Pollard events, visit thepollard.org.