Fall Play Returns With Dracula

Students+rehearse+Dracula+on+stage+in+the+Claudia+Boettcher+Theatre.

Maya Barantsevitch

Students rehearse Dracula on stage in the Claudia Boettcher Theatre.

Ellie Yang, Chief Design Editor

After over a year of adapting to COVID-19, the Masters fall play is back. Through the pandemic, the theater program, like all other programs at Masters, has been forced to reinvent itself in many ways and adjust to performing masked in front of an empty audience. Now, as the school returns to normal, Mainstage, the Masters theater company, is preparing for its first real play since 2019 — Dracula.

The play, adapted from its namesake novel, follows the journey of Jonathan Harker as he discovers and battles Count Dracula, a vampire. Filled with suspense, the play tells the story of not only the protagonist but also his connection with those around him. Sander Peters, who plays Jonathan Harker in the show, said,“The play centers around the idea that love conquers hate, … [it’s about] connection and reconnection.”

Though still rehearsing masked, the company will be allowed to perform maskless to a vaccinated audience. This adds to the cast’s excitement for the theater to be filled with set, props and life. “It’s really refreshing and rejuvenating to now come here in my second year at Masters and to be able to do a full, physical play,” said Angel Henriquez, a sophomore who is set to portray Dr. Jack Seward.

Meg O’Connor, director of the fall play and all other Mainstage productions, echoed Henriquez’s sentiments. “To be able to finally just work together with each other has been very fun.” she said. With a two-year gap, the theater community is also welcoming many new students who, with the returning members, make up a large cast and crew of 45 people. “One thing I love about the particular script is that we’re doing interesting roles all the way down. There are kids who don’t have that many lines but still have an interesting character to play. Nobody is unimportant in it,” O’Connor said.

Henriquez said, “There are a lot of new actors that get to be a part of a huge role. It’s really breathtaking to see what they can present on and off the stage during rehearsal and during the show.”

Samantha Weber, a freshman who is new to both Masters and acting said, “I wasn’t really sure what people were going to think but they are all really nice and very kind to me.” She will play Cneajna, the youngest of the three vampire sisters, in the show.

Dracula is set to premier on the weekend of Halloween with three consecutive shows that will welcome anyone with proof of vaccination. This date and the spooky nature of the show is no coincidence. When O’Connor looked at that weekend, she said the thought came to add some more Halloween spirit to the holiday. “Halloween is such an important holiday to Masters…and it is a chance for the whole community to really get back together,” she said.

Halloween is such an important holiday to Masters…and it is a chance for the whole community to really get back together”

— O'Connor

The past year and a half forced many readjustments within the theater community at Masters, and this show will be the relative return to normality that Peters said they have been hoping for since the start of the pandemic. He said, “There’s a lot of loss in this show but I think through the loss, the hope that can arise from it streams through nicely. I really hope that these two counteracting emotions can resonate with the audience.”