The cast of A Vampire Story prepares the finals scenes of their upcoming performance, which premieres Friday, March 3.
Originally published in The Brock News | TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2023 | by Charles Kim
The undead will make their debut next month in downtown St. Catharines.
Moira Buffini’s A Vampire Story, the mainstage production from Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts, opens at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre Friday, March 3.
The show follows Ella, a vampire who is new to a small town that has been plagued by disappearing high school students and teachers.
Seeking to become more human, she decides to stop drinking blood and to be honest about her undead state, her vampire mother and her horrific past.
But Ella’s honesty isn’t well received by the community. Her life is upended as she is ostracized and hunted — all while falling in love and sorting out her priorities in a small town where the residents are as bizarre and insatiable as the vampires who live among them.
Led by Director and Adjunct Professor Gyllian Raby, the adaptation of A Vampire’s Story finds a perfect balance between the play’s gothic and comedic nature.
Raby’s success both as a professional director and Associate Professor comes from her extensive experience and her affinity for intelligent, culturally astute comedy. She has worked as a freelance director, dramaturge and playwright/adaptor across the world.
Her productions of Bernard Shaw’s Passion, Poison and Petrifaction, the jazz/tap musical Fingers and Toes, Nicolai Erdman’s Russian farce The Suicide! and the international clown show hit Don’t Do It – Do It have been widely enjoyed by audiences in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Thailand.
Raby said A Vampire Story is more relevant now than its debut performance in 2016, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The loneliness and anxiety caused by the pandemic are common motivating factors for vampire and infection stories, she said.
“We can all identify with characters who are intensely alone amid society. Of course, this explains the success of the vampire genre,” Raby said. “Moira Buffini’s smart, witty play taps into the pop culture genre, relating loss of soul to the need for activist awareness.”
Assistant Director and fourth-year DART student Lucas Irving said the use of monsters within the show is instrumental.
“The production offers a fantastic opportunity to explore who and what the monsters in society are and how the definition changes from one period to another,” he said. “Vampires often surface during times of change and we’re certainly in a time of great change.”
A Vampire Story includes set design by Nigel Scott, costume design by Alexa Fraser and lighting design by Chris Malkowski, with music direction and live band leadership by Joe Lapinski. The production showcases the talents of Brock DART students Hayley King, Simone Cinapri, Maiya Irwin, Thea Van Loon, Alex De Cicco, Cal Webb Wilkinson, Hunter Brown, Nathan Faigundo, Emma van Barneveld, Tyra Hayward, Celine Zamidar, Michelle Shortt, Benoit St. Aubain, Kaitlyn Boyer, Isaiah Alton and Zakk Milne.
A Vampire Story opens Friday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre inside the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. Tickets are available for $20 for general admission and $16 for students and seniors. Performances will also take place Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, March 5 at 2 p.m., Friday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m. To reserve tickets please visit the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre website.