‘Dracula’ takes the stage | TheUnion.com

‘Dracula’ takes the stage

Sometimes teachers receive great ideas from their students.

Case in point -Bitney Springs High School drama teacher Maggie McKaig and her advanced drama class students who urged her to direct their next play based on Bram Stoker’s vampire novel, “Dracula.”

“I was not terribly big on it, but because they are such a great group of students, I agreed to research ‘Dracula’ plays and read Stoker’s novel,” McKaig pointed out. “I was surprised to discover that under the blood and gore, the concepts presented were quite appropriate for a high school group to be delving into.”

Those concepts include the basic dark vs. light theme, how sanity is defined and Dracula’s dualistic nature, according to McKaig.

As a consequence of the students’ prompting, “Dracula” will be presented Wednesday and Jan. 22 at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley.

“With the innocence represented by Dracula’s victim, the beautiful Lucy and the valor shown by Lucy’s friends and family in their attempts to save her, there are the makings for some very profound study on a dramatic level,” McKaig added. “I also loved the fun and huge theatrical challenge we would take on in trying to create both wonder and fear in our audience!”

The Bitney Springs adaptation is a compilation of a script by Crane Johnson, the novel written by Stoker in 1897 and ideas from the drama students.

“At the heart of the play, ‘Dracula’ is the desire and quest for power and immortality,” McKaig added. “The examination of what those terms might actually mean, and to what ends a man or woman might go to achieve them, create an intellectually stimulating experience for the actors and audience while still delivering the suspense usually associated with the story.”

Seniors cast in “Dracula” are Chris Bacon as Dracula, Vanessa Smith as Lucy and Jennifer Kinyon as Abigail; juniors cast are Mark Kewman as Dr. Seward, Marion Glamorgan as Professor Van Helsing, Jessica Anderson as Mrs. Harker and Carl Hansen as Renfield. Smith, Kewman, Glamorgan and Hansen also performed last spring in the school’s production of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Hansen is a three-year veteran of the school’s drama program.

“Dracula” is McKaig’s third production at the school. She has worked for almost 20 years as a youth theater director in Nevada County, Canada and the San Francisco area. She was musical director for the San Francisco Day School’s theater arts workshop “Center Stage” for seven years, and has been artistic director there for the past three years. Recently McKaig directed an original adaptation of the works of Victor Villasenor, “Camino Mexicano” at the Marsh Theatre in San Francisco. She will direct another of her original musical productions, “Caravan of Dreams,” also at the Marsh Theatre this spring.

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