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Count Dracula, our 2013-14 season, and more...
Dartmouth Players
May 2013 Newsletter

In This Issue

Count Dracula
• Our 2013-14 Season
• Audience Comments

Contact Information

For ticket purchases/inquiries contact Ticketpro (info below)

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Count Dracula, by Ted Tiller - June 5-22.  Tickets on sale May 15.

Director's Notes - Count Dracula

by Tamara Smith
Tamara SmithI wish I could have been in the room while this play was being written. It was 1971 and a repertory theatre in West Springfield Massachusetts was preparing to mount an older version of Dracula—horror of horrors!—they were denied performance rights ten days before rehearsals were to start. Ted Tiller (along with the uncredited Peter Harris) came to the rescue. While the theatre couldn’t stage the original play, the novel was in the public domain. In a six day marathon writing session that (if the prominence of these vices in the stage directions is any indication) must have been fueled by copious liquor and cigarettes, Tiller and Harris churned out an original staging of Stoker’s story that could be performed by the same nine actors the theatre had already hired.
Photo: Becky Grey Photography
 
While Tiller was limited to the nine actors that had already been cast, here at Dartmouth Players we have much more flexibility, and we’ve assembled a wonderful cast. We’ve also made Van Helsing a woman. One of the things that dated this play was that the women remained fairly passive while the men drove the plot forward. A female Van Helsing works well with the text, while bringing it a little more firmly into the twenty-first century.
 
Perhaps it was the madcap conditions under which it was commissioned that inspired Tiller to adapt Stoker’s terrifying novel as comedy. In a way, it’s a natural fit. There is something about both the exhilaration of being frightened, and the relief of danger passing that lends itself to laughter. And nothing feels better after a good scare than a good laugh. Hopefully, the production we’re rehearsing now will deliver both.

Announcing our 2013-14 season!

Blackpool and Parrish

by David Belke

 

November 2013
 
Directed by Joanne Arbuthnott
Comedy
 
For five millennia Harry Blackpool has been the agent for all Evil on Earth, while Rachel Parrish has represented Good. These implacable foes meet in a private club every twenty five years. With the end of the world scheduled for tomorrow at teatime, they must pass their duties to their oblivious heirs: a mild mannered physical education teacher and an aggressively Bohemian artist. Caught in the middle of their cosmic gamesmanship is an anxious club manager. As the sole representative of humanity, he may be the key to Armageddon's outcome in this fast paced comedy of apocalyptic proportions from Canadian playwright David Belke.

The Woman in Black

by Stephen Malatratt
Based on the novel by Susan Hill

February 2014
 
Directed by Dan Bray
Mystery/Thriller
 
A lawyer hires an actor to tutor him in recounting to family and friends a story that has long troubled him concerning events that transpired when he attended the funeral of an elderly recluse. There he caught sight of the woman in black, the mere mention of whom terrifies the locals, for she is a specter who haunts the neighborhood where her illegitimate child was accidentally killed. Anyone who sees her dies! The lawyer has invited some friends to watch as he and the actor recreate the events of that dark and stormy night. A classic of the genre.

Harvey

by Mary Chase

April 2014
 
Directed by Andrew Finnigan
Comedy
 
When Elwood P. Dowd starts to introduce his imaginary friend, Harvey, a six-and-a-half-foot rabbit, to guests at a society party, his sister, Veta, has seen as much of his eccentric behavior as she can tolerate. She decides to have him committed to a sanitarium to spare her daughter, Myrtle Mae, and their family from future embarrassment. Problems arise, however, when Veta herself is mistakenly assumed to be on the verge of lunacy when she explains to doctors that years of living with Elwood's hallucination have caused her to see Harvey also!  This classic play was turned into an Academy Award-winning film starring James Stewart.
 

Marion Bridge

by Daniel MacIvor

 

June 2014
 
Directed by Ian MacDermid
Drama
 
When one daughter returns home to Cape Breton to be with her two sisters, they must confront not only their dying mother, but also the lives they have come to lead. Each in their own way attempts to sort out the emptiness and loneliness that has come to rule her day-to-day life. The ideas of what they wanted to be and what their mother wanted them to be is all the more torturous as the daughters begin to finally understand what they are and why they are that way. Marion Bridge is the humorous and touching story by Nova Scotian playwright Daniel MacIvor that demonstrates the absolute power of realization and how it heals as much as it harms.

Interview with Russell Storer

Photo of Russell Storer in "Cabaret".Our regular audience members will remember you from The Fantasticks, where you played Luisa's father, and of course from your role as "The MC" in Cabaret. What drew you to this play, and in particular to the role of Count Dracula?
 
The opportunity to both explore the mind of a villain, and to create my own interpretation of such an iconic figure as Dracula, within a single role, was too choice to pass up.
 
When did you first get involved in acting? Do you have a favourite genre, or any particularly memorable roles?
 

Russell as "The MC" in Cabaret.
Photo: Bruce Goodick
High school productions of Finnian’s Rainbow and Arsenic and Old Lace were my first tastes of performance on stage. Then life got in the way and I didn’t return to the stage until about six years ago in a role in Iolanthe with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society. This production included a lot of firsts for me: first time singing with an orchestra, first time performing in front of an audience of 800 plus. I have many wonderful memories from that show. More recently the role as the MC in Cabaret has been the most demanding and gratifying.
 
Performing requires a lot of dedication and energy, and our actors are mostly people with regular day jobs. What keeps you motivated, and keeps your energy up through the long rehearsal period, and the very demanding performance run?
 
Performance is an exploration into issues, personality, and possibilities. It forces me to retain a wide-eyed wonder about life, and offers me the chance to become persons I will never meet, to experience times long since past, and to go places I will never go. The adventure keeps me coming back to the stage.
 
Do you have a particular strategy for getting into your character?
 
The text of the play provides the basic character sketch, not only from the character’s dialogue, but from what other characters say about him. Beyond that, the internet provides many resources such as background information, performances, and critiques. Drawing from one’s own circle of acquaintances and experiences past and present is also helpful. Once immersed in information you begin to make choices, keeping one trait and letting go of another. Then the character begins to gel and you become him.
 
What aspects of acting do you find most challenging?
 
Each performance presents its own unique challenges and I will always view a play as a success if I have learned something new by overcoming a challenge. But the main challenge for any actor is making the character real and believable in the eyes of the audience. In Count Dracula the challenge will be to make the audience feel apprehensive when Dracula is on stage. Making this imaginary character real and believable in the eyes of fifteen audiences will be my greatest challenge in this play.
 
This version of the Dracula story, by Ted Tiller, is billed as a comic thriller. Is it difficult to find the comedy in this play, without it coming across as a complete parody? 
 
When I first read the script I was surprised at the word “comic” in the description. In the play there is no room for Dracula to be a comic figure. He will need to remain dark in order to be believable. Fortunately there are several characters in the play who will provide relief from the ominous suspense, allowing Dracula, and those who do battle with him, to carry the serious threads of the play.
 
What do you think is the enduring appeal of the vampire character and genre?
 
The Dracula icon represents humanity’s struggle against evil. It is timeless. His particular collection of traits: sexual appeal, mystical control, super-human strength, ancient European history, eternal existence, flaunts the supernatural and takes our curiosity to the border of the unknown. But for all his power, he is destroyed by knowledge, the quintessential story for the scientific age.



Count Dracula - The Cast
(in order of appearance)

Cathy Cameron as Sybil Seward
Daniel Yule as Hennessey
Mike Taylor as Dr. Arthur Seward
Brian Fewer as Renfield
Brad Morrison as Wesley
Mathew Tufts as Jonathan Harker
Ivy Charles as Mina
Russell Storer as Count Dracula
Valerie Mackenzie as Heinrich Van Helsing

Ticket Information

COUNT DRACULA - Tickets on sale May 15th at 10am through:

ONLINE:
www.dartmouthplayers.ns.ca
www.ticketpro.ca

TELEPHONE:
Ticketpro at 1-888-311-9090, 10am-11pm 7 days per week.

IN PERSON:
  • Alderney Landing Theatre
  • CD Heaven, Dartmouth Shopping Centre
  • United Bookstore - Barrington St.
  • Video Difference - Quinpool Rd. or Bedford Hwy.
Tickets may be available for purchase (cash sales only) at the door from one hour prior to a performance, subject to availability.

Individual tickets are final sale - no exchanges/refunds unless the performance is cancelled.
Ticketpro
Special Needs Reserved Seating: Available for patrons with hearing, vision, or mobility issues as well as a companion.  Purchase and reserve seats within our first 3 rows until 72 hours before a performance by contacting Ticketpro at 1-888-311-9090 or in person at Alderney Landing Theatre.

Subscriber Exchanges/Special Needs Requests:  Available until two hours prior to a performance by contacting the original point of purchase:  Ticketpro at 1-888-311-9090, Alderney Landing Theatre at 461-8401 or Dartmouth Players at 465-7529. Request “Box office pick up” and your new tickets will be held at our lower entrance doors. You are not required to bring your original tickets with you to the theatre.

Ticket Availability: Contact Ticketpro at 1-888-311-9090, 10am-11pm 7days per week, including right up until curtain time.  Remember that many of our shows sell out!

Theatre Seating: All seats are general admission except for patrons with reserved special needs seats. Seating commences from both our lobby entrance and lower theatre doors at 7:20pm or 1:20pm.  
ALL SUBSCRIBERS, TICKETHOLDERS and patrons with BOX OFFICE PICKUP TICKETS may enter through the lower doors after this time – you no longer need to enter through the box office level.  For those arriving prior to this time our lobby and box office open at 7pm and 1pm for your convenience.

Thank you to all patrons for your patience and feedback as we worked with Ticketpro to provide you with multiple ticket purchase and delivery options.  We look forward to offering you enhanced options in the coming season!

2013-2014 Season Tickets go on sale mid-September.  All current subscribers will receive information about advance subscription purchase privileges as soon as we have details available.


Charity Preview Performance

The Charity Preview Performance of Count Dracula will take place on Monday, June 3rd at 8pm, and will benefit the Ocean View Continuing Care Centre (Eastern Passage).

Tickets and more information are available by contacting Shauna Williams at 465-6020, ext. 2163.

Audience Comments - Come Back to The Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean

  • If anyone in our audience has any suggestions as to how we can inform people to not wear tons of perfume in enclosed spaces, we would really appreciate it. We advertise in our newsletter, make announcements before the play and we have signs throughout the building asking people to respect our theatre as a scent-free area. Some people continue to offend other audience members by wearing lots of perfume.  During this play we were advised that some of our patrons had to move to different seats because of the offensive smell. At two other plays we were advised that audience members were bothered by perfume, one of the members said he was becoming nauseated by the smell.
  • During two of our presentations, we had cell phones ring, even though, during the pre-show announcements,  people were asked to turn them off. One of our actors was put off her lines on one of those occasions.
  • For the most part, your comments about this play were very good. A lot of comments picked out certain actors as their favourites. Our actors get to read the comments and do appreciate your support.
  • We had one suggestion for a future play, Joseph and His Amazing Techni-Coloured Dreamcoat. This will be passed to our play reading committee. Thank you all for your comments. We enjoy receiving your feedback.

Clare Authers Memorial Scholarship

(Image of mortarboard)Dartmouth Players continues to support theatre arts education and has provided theatre training and scholarships to many promising young Nova Scotians to assist them in theatre arts studies. Through the Clare Authers Memorial Scholarship, we award $2000 worth of scholarships annually, one to students at each of two local high schools (Dartmouth High and Prince Andrew) and one or more to members of Dartmouth Players.
Scholarship Eligibility
  • Graduating students at Prince Andrew High School and Dartmouth High School who are pursuing post-secondary education in the theatre arts are eligible to apply. Students can apply to Student Services at their own school.
  • Members of Dartmouth Players furthering their theatre interests through an educational opportunity are also eligible and encouraged to apply. Dartmouth Players members can send in their applications to the address on the form below.
The deadline for applications is May 31, 2013.  Please go to our website and download our application form and forward it to us through postal mail to the address on the form.

Costume Donations Requested

(Image of Tophat)As a busy theatre, it is vital that DP maintain an extensive costume collection. Over time, items become worn, torn and/or stained and it is difficult to find replacements. We are hoping that you, our kind and generous patrons may be able to help. We are looking for donations of Vintage Items - i.e. pre-1960. In particular we need men’s suits, tuxedoes, top hats, bowlers, fedoras, and neckties, ladies’ dresses and gowns. If you have vintage articles of clothing which might appreciate a second chance at life, please contact us at info@dartmouthplayers.ns.ca or 465-7529.  Thank you!

Community Theatre Notices

  • Theatre Arts Guild presents The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, June 20th to July 6th.  This fun and innovative musical, fresh from Broadway, has played all over the world. Joining the cast of nine, are willing audience volunteers, making each performance unique and making Spelling Bee a delightful coda to TAG's 2012-2013 season. Music and lyrics by William Finn, book by Rachel Sheinkin, conceived by Rebecca Feldman and directed by Jolene Pattison.

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