Blood Galore, Vampires and More: UNO Presents Steven Dietz’s “Dracula”

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Scott Glasser knows what his students want.

“Students want plays with lots of blood. And vampires. They like vampires.”

Dr. Glasser will be giving his students all that and more in the opening production of UNO’s 2015-2016 season. “Dracula” is Steven Dietz’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic Gothic horror novel. Dietz’s adaptation is faithful to the novel, as seen through the eyes of the asylum patient Renfield. Glasser and Dietz have known each other for over twenty years, first meeting at the Playwright’s Center in Minneapolis. He has directed several Dietz plays, including, most recently, “Becky’s New Car” at the Nebraska Repertory Theatre in Lincoln.

Glasser is fascinated by the influences on Stoker’s “Dracula.” The novel was written shortly after the first trial of Stoker’s friend Oscar Wilde, was heavily influenced by the developing field of psychology, and seems to particularly illustrate particularly Carl Jung’s analysis of the crossover between dreams and reality. As a result, Glasser plans to focus on the psychological suspense of the story. “We’ll move away from realism. This is a nightmare, a dreamscape, a collective one. It becomes a mass hysteria.”

“Dracula” may be a nightmare, but Glasser’s design team is a dream. Adam Van Osdel will design this dreamscape, including makeup and special effects (just seeing a rat devoured on stage should be worth the price of admission). Van Osdel last designed the remarkable talking statues for UNO’s “Eurydice.” Robbie Jones is designing the set, Charleen Willoughby and student Melissa Valdez are co-designing and building costumes, Steven Williams and student Audrey Wardian are co-designing lighting, and graduate student Aaron Wrigley is designing the soundscape and collaborating on music with student John Landrie. “It takes a Transylvanian village,” laughs Glasser.

The cast list has just been announced, and will include Michael Judah (last seen in a fish bowl playing “Salamander Boy” in UNO’s production of “Freak Show”) and Andy Prescott (last seen as “Cy Young” in the Great Plains Theatre Conference’s presentation of “Cowles Scrimmage Anthology”).

UNO’s intimate black box theater should be the perfect setting for this psychological nightmare, the ideal way to kick off the Halloween season. Professor Glasser plans to make it worth your while. “I hope we scare you,” he smiles.

“Dracula” by the University of Nebraska Omaha Department of Theatre will run at the Weber Fine Arts Building on the campus of UNO, 6001 Dodge Street, from September 30 through October 10. Shows are Wednesday through Saturday, September 30 through October 3, and again the following Wednesday through Saturday, October 7 through 10. Curtain is at 7:30. There will be a TAG Nite Out on Wednesday, September 30. Remember to bring your TAG membership card—you will need it for the TAG Nite Out. Ticket prices are $16, and are available at the UNO Theatre Box office or on line at Questions? Call them at (402) 554-PLAY (7529).

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