It may not have been a dark and stormy night when Alvis LeGate met Mihai Algiu on West Main Street in Grass Valley, but the chance encounter helped set the stage for LeGacy Production’s classic tale “Dracula,” which opened Friday at the Nevada Theater.
After being introduced by a mutual friend, LeGate did something he says he never does, handed Algiu the script for “Dracula” and asked him to look over the Romanian translations.
Algiu, a native of Romania, did one better, he agreed to help the cast learn how to speak their lines in the complex language.
But it was Algiu’s presence that also stood out, so much so that the LeGates eventually cast him in the title role of the classic Bram Stoker horror tale.
Although this is his first foray into acting, Algiu has risen to the challenge — finding a stimulation and intrigue from learning to become someone else, Algiu said.
Ironically, while teaching Romanian to fellow cast mates, Algiu is also learning to master a new accent for his role as Count Vlad.
In the second act when the setting moves to London, Count Vlad wants to blend in as much as possible, including, Algiu said, a British accent.
The script for “Dracula” was adapted for the stage by Grass Valley resident Gary Wright. He originally created the script in 1999 for the then-Foothill Theatre Company.
The organization had read a lot of published scripts of “Dracula” to produce at the Nevada Theatre but wasn’t happy with anything it found. So Wright wrote one himself.
The following year, the play was produced in town, then shared through a cultural exchange with a theater company in eastern Russia, Wright said.
It was translated into Russian and used there for four years. Wright eventually went back to his original adaptation and turned it into a screenplay.
From his screenplay, he re-wrote the stage adaptation, making it more streamlined, Wright said.
That includes more dramatic scenes and fewer narrative or “diary” scenes.
Wright had just gotten his script for “Ever More” published by Next Stage Press in Houston, and he thought they might also be interested in his latest adaptation of “Dracula,” he said. They were, making it his second published play to date.
Wright has been involved with the LeGacy production, helping out as an acting coach.
In addition to Algiu as Vlad, the cast includes John Bivens as solicitor Johnathan Harker; Nadia White and Ariel Elliot as Lucy and Mina, Dracula’s beautiful British victims and Gary Dini returns to the Nevada County stage as Dracula’s victim gone mad, Marcus Renfield.
Joining them are LeGacy veterans Dru Mathies, Stephen Wellman, and Patrick Moore as Arthur, Van Helsing and Dr. Seward, respectively. Rounding out the cast are Paula Nelson, Diane Dean-Epps, Jennifer Terman and Connor Magehee.
“Dracula” runs through Sept. 28 at the Nevada Theatre. Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with two 7 p.m. Thursday performances.
Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door, and are available at The Bookseller, Harmony Books or by calling the LeGacy Box Office at 530-268-5419.
Features Editor Brett Bentley can be contacted at email@example.com.