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Dracula Comes to Blowing Rock Oct. 26-27

By Paul T. Choate

Oct. 24, 2012. Dracula will be coming to Blowing Rock again this Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26-27, for two special Ensemble Stage performances.

The performance takes place at the Blowing Rock School auditorium on Sunday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m. and costs $12 for adults and $8 for students.

The annual showing of Dracula is a unique experience for attendees, as the performance pays homage to the golden days of radio and performers create all the sound effects themselves.

“It’s basically a staged recreation of a 1930s radio broadcast, but it’s not just that because it’s got a lot more in the way of theatrical elements to it,” said Gary Smith, artistic director of the Ensemble Stage. 

Smith gave an example of the sound effects as an umbrella quickly being opened and closed to create the sound of Dracula turning into a bat.

New this year is the fact that the show takes place two nights. Smith said some people are planning to attend both showings, once to “sit there with their eyes closed” and treat it like an old-fashioned radio broadcast and then again to watch the performers.

Smith adapted the Ensemble Stage’s Dracula script from the 1897 novel of the same name by Irish author Bram Stoker and Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre, which aired plays on public radio in the late 30s based on literary works.

Except for the location, Smith said the play is very close to the book. Instead of Dracula moving into a mansion in England via Transylvania, Dracula’s ship docks in Wilmington after leaving Budapest and travels to Blowing Rock, where Dracula moves into the Mayview Manor.

Smith said the play is a drama with some humor and, of course, an element of horror, but also added that it was a family-friendly performance and that it would not be too scary for small children. 

There will be 12 performers for this year’s installment of Dracula. In prior years many performers played multiple roles, but Smith said that will be done to a lesser degree this year and that all the main characters will have only one role.

The live performance will be recorded and broadcast over WATA-1450 on Halloween night at 6 p.m.

Ensemble Stage performances take place at the Blowing Rock School auditorium, which is located on 160 Sunset Drive in Blowing Rock. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling the Ensemble Stage box office at 828-414-1844 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.

For more information, visit ensemblestage.com or call 828-414-1844.