Many different elements must be present in order to convey a gripping story. Pulling this off is even more of a feat when you must rely on elements that can only be done without breaking the immersion of a live performance. Dracula’s most impressive feat is its ability to take its barebones set design and apply a myriad of different and creative effects to transform the set into something completely different and unique. These effects range from the use of lighting, the application of a fog machine, and the set design. In essence, it takes full advantage of everything it can to create superb mise-en-scène.
Dracula utilizes perhaps the most creative usage of lighting that I have ever seen in a stage play. The lights in this show transform the harsh dungeon dwelling of the madman Renfield into a victorian household. Or turn that same household into a dramatic setting for three simultaneous soliloquies.
The change from Dr. Seward’s asylum into virtually any of the other sets is one of the most visually striking and contrasting transformations in the show. A typical lighting setup is used while in Mina’s house but when the same set needs to be ...
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...le to make the act of drinking a glass of wine or an awkward handshake funny. His knowledge of the vampiric plague is also made clear through his actions and not his words, which is something that all actors should try to do more often. One of Pixar’s twenty-two rules of storytelling is “learn how to show without telling” and Van Helsing does this with spectacular wit and impressive wisdom.
Gay Hammond’s adaptation of Dracula is a fascinating exploration of the human psyche demonstrated through lighting, sound design, and other special effects which help to create a convincing setting and also to convey certain thematic elements. Its great technical aspects are complemented by a superb cast that help make the story memorable. Dracula was a spectacular presentation of what can be done when all of the pieces of a production are greased and working in pristine condition.
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