Halloween might be over, but then again, Mountain Pointe High School Theatre Company’s new show really isn’t meant to scare you even though it revolves around one of the most notable characters in horror fiction.
Indeed, said director Suzanne Idler, who teaches computer graphic art and film/tv productions, “Dracula: Bloody Truth” aims to provoke laughter rather than screams.
The play will be presented at 6 p.m. tomorrow and Friday, Nov. 7 and 8, at Mountain Pointe’s Black Box Theater, 4201 E. Knox Road, Ahwatukee. Tickets are $7 for students and $10 for adults.
The play is from the same stable as those created by the revered Mischief Theatre Company and could actually be called “Dracula Goes Wrong,” Idler said.
It’s like the movie “Scream,” with a bit of “Spamalot” and “Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave ‘Em” humor expertly molded together.
As explained by the famous vampire’s nemesis, Professor Abraham Van Helsing, Bram Stoker, who wrote the novel started a veritable sub-genre in horror fiction, “he had it all wrong.”
Van Helsing insists Stoker wrote the novel “in a traitorous bid to further his own career.”
Van Helsing journeys across Europe with a hapless amateur theatre group as he tells his version of the renown bloodsucker.
A teacher at Mountain Pointe since 1995, Idler has directed plays at the high school long enough to recall that Pride director and teacher Corey Quinn actually appeared in her first play when he was a student.
She taught theater and English from 1995 to 2000, then took a year off. When she returned, Mountain Pointe teacher-director Jim Bonagofski got her back into the director rotation.
“ I have always been fortunate enough to direct one show a year,” said Idler, who last directed “Lend Me A Tenor.”
Idler is no stranger to the stage
She was in community theatre in high school, playing at the Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale, California – the theater owned by the same people who own the Hale Center Theatre in Gilbert.
With a bachelor’s degree in theater arts from Arizona State University and two master’s degrees – from Grand Canyon University and the other from ASU – Idler said, “I enjoy a good and challenging comedy.”
She said “Dracula” is “very much in the same vein as other shows I have directed,” including “Laughing Stock” and “Baskerville.”
“I love the technical aspects of it for the cast and the crew,” she said. “Timing is a must.”
As for what audiences can expect in “Dracula,” Idler said, “Expect the unexpected. Expect to laugh. It is British humor so it is both silly and dry.”
Idler also has high praise for the students involved in the production.
“Theatre altogether is chaotic, so there are always going to be challenges but the students always rise to the occasion,” she said.
She also thinks the audience will like the set.
“I can’t give away a lot of the plot and surprises but it is a very involved set, especially for a black box show,” referring to the size of the theater.
“If Assistant Director Micheal Salutz was not here every day, I certainly would not have this show ready for the public on time,” she added. “He’s amazing and a God-send.”
Heading the cast is Patrick Keyser as Dracula and Alayjia Marcelin as Van Helsing.
Many of the actors and actresses are playing multiple roles.
The rest of the cast includes Addie Harvey, Lexi Artusa-Sirotan, Trevor Stout, Kylie Bannon and Rylie Weathersbee.
The stage manager is Rebecca Jacobs and technical direction is handled by Taylor Simmons.
Other crew members are: Amiko Valenzuela, Kyra Deeney, Zarkeyiah Kuykendall, Emelia Robertson, Jadyn Carter, Constance Kelly, Brody Stolfa, Breyonah Owens, Conner Murray, Shayla Pollard, Trevor Perry, Chase Carter, Phoenix Torres, Kyla Marcelin, Andre Pressume and Eldin Cubean.