“Some disturbing things happen.” That’s how director Phil Mansfield describes the stage production of Dracula that will premiere on Halloween and run for the next three weekends at the Shandaken Theatrical Society (STS) Playhouse in Phoenicia. The version of Bram Stoker’s classic vampire tale to be performed is Steven Dietz’s popular 1996 adaptation, in which the action is centered in England before and after the bloodthirsty count’s arrival. Jonathan Harker’s ill-fated business trip to Transylvania is recounted only in flashback, and narration by the mad bug-eating Renfield provides a wraparound device for the play’s action.
So you may not get to see Dracula’s castle onstage, but Mansfield promises the audience a suitably creepy experience nonetheless, thanks to “a weird and wonderful confluence of amazing theatre and film pros” from the region. Among the veterans involved in this production are Beck Underwood, a production and set designer on many horror films; composer Robert Cucinotta, whose works have been performed at the Smithsonian, Merkin Hall, Barge Music and for colleges in the US, Ireland and Australia; and set designer Gordon Brown. “Gordon has completely reimagined this space,” reports Mansfield. “He is terrifying with a Sawzall.”
There will be two special promotional shows during the run of Dracula. The opening-night performance on Halloween will be free to high school students, who are encouraged to come in costume (as long as they’re no longer covered with shaving cream from the annual Halloween free-for-all in the gas station parking lot next door to the STS Playhouse). And on November 1, STS’ Friday Night Feastival Fundraiser will kick off at 6:30 p.m. on the patio at Mama’s Boy at 7 Church Street, directly across from the Playhouse. Red (and white) wine will flow while guests enjoy an undead musical performance by the Paul Green Rock Academy Show Band and “diabolically tasty bites.” The $50 benefit ticket includes a seat at that evening’s performance of Dracula.
Evening performances begin at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 31, Fridays and Saturdays, November 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16, with 2 p.m. Sunday matinées on November 3, 10 and 17. Other than the $50 gala and the free opening night for high-schoolers, tickets will cost $15 for general admission and $12 for students, seniors and STS members.
Steven Dietz’s Dracula, October 31-November 17, Fridays/Saturdays 8 p.m., Sundays 2 p.m., $15, free to high school students October 31 at 8 p.m., STS Playhouse, 10 Church Street, Phoenicia; Feastival Fundraiser, Friday, November 1, 6:30 p.m., $50, Mama’s Boy, 7 Church Street, Phoenicia; (845) 688-2279, www.stsplayhouse.com.