Dracula Diaries, week1.1

Hello to all our wonderful backers, and welcome to the first instalment of our Cast Email

First Readings

First Readings

Diaries.

Twice a week members of our cast will write a short diary on how the rehearsals are going, and how they are getting on the bringing Dracula to life on the stage. I will start each of the emails, and let you know what the Crew have been up to in the past few days. If there are things you would like to read more about please let us know.

So, what has our first week had in store for us? HEAT! Our rehearsal rooms have been like a sauna, but like troopers they are the cast have kept working hard. I have called an early end to the day on a couple of occasions, since its been too hot to think, but I am so pleased with the work everyone is putting in. When we read Act 1 on Wednesday after working on the scenes I was a very happy director! I’m finding that I am being moved by the way some of these moments are coming to life.

Not making me so happy is the confusing and complex process of trying to set up our website! My head just isn’t build for it I guess, but I shall make it work, eventually!

And now our first 3 cast diaries!

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Wayne Burke ( playing Arthur Seward)

Today has been about overcoming mental blocks. I think that most actors go through this with any play that they are in – and I am no exception! The qualities of this translation, that make it so wonderful, are also the qualities that make the characters so intricate to play. Arthur is a complex man, and the worry for me is that I could easily miss some of the complexity – and in that sense “dumb him down”. Stephen is tirelessly working with us and adapting the rehearsals to ensure that we truly are getting a grasp of each scene and all that, on top of this weeks heat wave!
Actors, like everyone, are all different. For me physicalising the text is where I gain much more of a sense of the complexities of the piece. I am enjoying the process even though I shudder, at even the mention of act 1 scene 13!!!!!!
What can you expect from Arthur Seward? Well he is a hardworking man, a man with principles, but also a man who didn’t grow up in the conventional sense. But When someone is so structured and rule following, there is always the potential for volatility. And that is extremely fun to play!________________________________________

Kimberly Black (playing Florrie)

It’s been a great start to our 1st week of rehearsals. After 2 promising readings of the play we’re finally peeling back the script, up on our feet and really discovering our characters.
Monday was, for me, a turning point. You always have an image of what you think your character is, what they want, how they move, talk. Then there is the next step where something clicks and suddenly more is revealed and you feel like you are flying.

Florrie for me is more than just the ‘light relief’, she’s the glue, the grounded one. She’s not stuck in that Victorian pretence, she’s real and caring and cheeky. She’s who I want to be. While she is a lower class than everyone else she has charm and a heart, she tells the truth.
I feel a lovely freedom in her.

Xxx

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Tara Crabbe (playing Mina)Really a whirlwind sort of week: kickstarter drummed even more support than imagined possible and now it was time to do some REAL WORK.

 

I’m playing Mina – the girl who gets away from Dracula and lives to see her ‘happy ending’ with husband Jonathan.. having survived some pretty hideous experiences involving all the Victorian ‘unmentionables’! At face value life is a version of perfect at the opening: perfect inheritance,  perfect fiance, perfect household, perfect Victorian control. I think the brilliance of what Liz Lochhead has done with this story is that you can say the same about the point she arrives at at the end: she’s human, and she’s still alive, and to her and us thats as perfect as it gets…

 

Rehearsals this week started focussing on Act I and Mina’s domestic relationships as she chooses them being the focus. Opening with sc 8 I really struggled!  how can this powerhouse of a ‘household general’ truthfully open up to her maid and share her deepest worries regarding Lucy? The responsibility she has over the household is enormous,  but holding up her usual front of calm and control just didn’t work.  the truth for me is, she’s lonely. Its oh so lonely at the top,  and she needs a bit of help; to give away as much as she does really throws her, because its true! Its going to be interesting to apply this to her relations now with Dracula;  on first read I thought it was her moral strength that made her a worthy challenge (instead of victim) but now im thinking is she the ultimate light to his ‘black heart’?? Or does she think she is? Can’t wait for next week! !

 

Enter Dracula…

 

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I hope you have enjoyed seeing inside our first few days of rehearsal. Please give us feedback, and let us know what you think of the diaries.

I’m looking forward to the end of the week, by which time we will have really worked on the script for each scene, and ready to start moving.

Thanks to you all,
Regards
Stephen

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