Dracula: This show has bite

Dracula is coming to the stage at Keizer Cultural Center. It is the first production of Keizer Homegrown Conservatory, a new launch from Keizer Homegrown Theatre.

The show opens on Friday, July 29, at 7 p.m. Subsequent performances are 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, July 31.

Keizer Homegrown Conservatory was specifically designed for younger actors, who get little opportunity to do fully staged theatre, such as non-traditional students, or kids at college who do not drama programs at their schools. Dracula is the pilot show of the program.

The show, written by Laramie Dean, a Montana-based theatre instructor, is based on Bram Stoker’s 19th century classic novel. It features the blood and gore younger actors love and audiences of all ages will enjoy.

Loriann Schmidt, leader of the Conservatory is directing the show along with Marah Walsh. “This is the third Dracula adaption I’ve worked on and it’s by far by absolute favorite,” said Schmidt.

Rowan Coleman, who plays Dracula, is a fan of vampires. She has a history of playing antagonistic, if not evil, characters. The biggest challenge for this actress was learning the many monologues the character recites.

“I’ve never seen a non-male Dracula,” said Coleman. She portrays a non-gender, androgynous vampire in the show.

Abraham Van Helsing is being played by Rain Holland, who is excited for the opportunity. “I just really love Dracula, as a whole,” said Holland, “ I’m really interested in the character of Van Hesling and how he is portrayed in this show.”

The female romantic lead, Mina Harker, portrayed by Mikayla Stevens, was offered the role. After the reading the script, Stevens thought the powerful female character in that era was cool. The actress generally plays lighter, comedic roles, so the role of Harker is a new direction for the actress.

Rounding out the cast of Dracula are Anteo Ramirez, Maeve Z, who flew in from New York City to perform, Will Carlat, who plays four characters, Nicia Delurey, August Neuschwander, Marah Walsh, Carina Bellendaine, Annika Elliott, Nixx Rehl and Sophia Serrano-Dodd.

Dracula is an ambitious production, featuring animations, projections and sound design, on a simple set, with full period costumes.

Tickets for the show are $15 (free with an Oregon Trail Card) and are available at Admission is also free for members of the International Thespian Society.

The Keizer Cultural Center is located at 980 Chemawa Rd. NE.