The Reluctant Writer: Something Else to do When I Should Be Writing

October 30, 2009

Dracula — revamping is always good

I went to see Columbia City Ballet’s new and improved Dracula last night — actually, the whole family came along.  It’s always fun to ooh and ahh at the parts that Annie and Bonnie used to dance when they were members of William’s and Mariclare’s flock.  Annie got to blow bubbles, while Bonnie’s job was to scamper around the stage — the casting was perfect, and it was a long time ago.

A lot of people have asked me what I thought about the additions and omissions this production includes, and I have to say, my feelings are mixed. (Personally, I’d rather see fewer people on the stage as long as those dancers have excellent skills, than an abundance of dancers on the stage, some of whom don’t measure up to the better dancers. But CCB has always brought a big show and a full stage — this production of Dracula is consistent with that culture.)

But, there are parts from the old Dracula that I miss — I’ve always thought that William makes for the best Dracula, with Robert Michalski coming in a close second; and parts that I’m glad to see gone — blood spurting into the first few rows like gushers of Gallagher’s watermelon juice a few years back, was a bit over the top even for CCB.

There are additions to the new Dracula that I love — kudos on the new costumes and the extended Undead dance in Act III; and other add-ons, like the lengthy Act I seduction scene, that I hope will be edited after a few runs before a live audience.

And I think many people will feel the same way, but probably about different things.  We get attached to tunes and costumes and sequences just as we can also get annoyed by them.  It’s called taste and it varies from person to person — something important to remember when you’re reading reviews.  (Two or more expert critics can see the same show in diametrically different ways.  Don’t get me started on what happens when non-experts offer official reviews.)

So while my feelings may be mixed on the results of the new and improved part of Dracula this year, my sense of satisfaction and optimism that the scene has been shaken up a bit, is fully formed.  I love it that CCB has the audacity to tinker with what was a proven and effective formula for them.  To me, this demonstrates a willingness to grow and evolve, rather than stay stagnant with the tried and true.  It’s been almost fifteen years since my little girls were blowing bubbles and skipping around the stage.  They’ve changed a lot since then — it would be sad to think that nothing else had.

Since my role is not to critique, I will not labor on what I didn’t like.  My role is to support, so here’s my shout out for my favorite parts of the show.  Top of the list — Regina Willoughby and Jose Serrano are consistently good dancers with strong technique who always bring their A games — Katie Smoak has the energy of a tiny yip-yip dog and she brings it to the stage — Katie Massey, who danced the role of Victoria, looked like a seasoned performer & I was surprised to find that she is just in CCBII —  Barry Sparks rocks on lighting, as usual — and Thomas Semanski’s score is still bouncing around in my head and will be until Tchaikovsky sets in — which will be sooner than any of us think.

So, Happy Halloween, Everybody.  Go see Dracula at the Koger Center tonight or tomorrow at 7:30 — and let me know what you think.

 

PS — Someone really should consider doing a Dragula production next year — wouldn’t it make an excellent fund raiser?

 

 

 

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2 Comments »

  1. I liked that they had an Elvis impersonator as Dracula.

    Comment by jeffrey day — October 31, 2009 @ 22:35

  2. Yeah, would have been nice if Elvis had danced a bit.

    Comment by cynthiaboiter — November 1, 2009 @ 13:32


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