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‘Dracula’ rises as Actors’ rep returns on stage

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CAPE FEAR – John Dantona, left, as Abraham Van Helsing and Patrick John McMahon, right, as the Dracula star in Actors’ Repertory Theater of Simi’s original adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic horror novel “Dracula”. The play opens tonight, October 15th, at 8 a.m. at the 96-seat ARTSpace Black Box Theater at the Simi Elementary School. Courtesy Jan Glasband

The COVID-19 pandemic took a terrible bite from the local theater scene and caused stages to go dark across the county.

Now, just in time for Halloween, the Actors’ Repertory Theater of Simi is ready to immerse itself in live performances again with “Dracula”, which will be held tonight at 8:00 am at the 96-seat ARTSpace Black Box Theater at the Simi Elementary School, 2956 School , will open at St. It runs on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. until October 31.

Dracula, Bram Stoker’s classic horror story about a vampire terrorizing a British city, began in 1897 as a novel. Since then, it has spawned movies, video games, and even a pinball machine.

Now ARTS is giving the bloodthirsty story its own note. Patrick John McMahon, who directs the production and plays Dracula, has created a brand new adaptation that provides live musical accompaniment and background for a six-member chamber ensemble under the direction of Cavit Celayir-Monezis.

Jan Glasband, Artistic Director of ARTS and General Manager of the Simi Valley Cultural Association, said it was wonderful to see actors on stage again.

“It is very exciting to be able to produce live theater for the community again because it is something that is needed and is very much missed,” said Glasband.

“Theater offers something for everyone and everyone who experiences live theater for the first time will be immediately impressed.”

Celayir-Monezis is a seasoned musician who has played in pit orchestras for a number of local productions. He studied bassoon playing at UCLA and plays woodwinds, brass and piano. He said he was looking forward to performing again and getting back in touch with other musicians.

“This will be my first appearance since the beginning of the pandemic and it is also my first appearance with a musical accompaniment for a piece that is not a musical,” said Celayir-Monezis.

“Dracula,” he said, is the perfect production to score points.

“There are lots of scary or dramatic scenes that are good for musical accompaniment, and live music will help add to the tension,” he said.

Glasband said that usually when ARTS stages a production based on a novel, music is played before or after the show, during intermission, or at key points during the performance.

But since Dracula’s brides have certain moves that needed to be choreographed, adding a live orchestra seemed like a wise decision, she said.

“The live music will be fantastic and we are very excited that it will accompany the performance,” said Glasband.

“It’s a great little addition to add to the theater and to have live music is a unique and wonderful opportunity that I think audiences will love.”

Since “Dracula” is full of adult themes, not to mention blood and gore, Glasband said the production is not recommended for children under the age of 12. Thirteen and 14 year olds should be with a parent or legal guardian.

ARTS ‘next production, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, will be suitable for all ages, she said. Tickets are $ 15 and the shows are on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. from November 12th to 21st.

Glasband said there will be a Christmas show as well, most likely a performance of “An O. Henry Holiday,” based on a trio of short stories by O. Henry.

Spring Game dates haven’t been set yet, but the list includes Driving Miss Daisy, American Son, Fences, and The Bad Seed.

There are also two one-woman shows, “The Belle of Amherst” and “Naturally Tan”, as well as an in-action literary performance of “Inherit the Wind” performed by actors between the ages of 13 and 18.

“A lot of wonderful things happen in Simi in the theater world (and) we jump in with both feet again,” said Glasband.

Admission for “Dracula” is US $ 20 general, US $ 18 for seniors and students.

Tickets can be reserved by emailing Glasband at [email protected]

More information is available at facebook.com/actorsrepofsimi.

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