Dracula: A Kaipara College production

by Georgia Shivnan, Year 13 Student Kaipara College

Dracula's cast and crew at dress rehearsal

Dracula’s final scream echoes through the silent hall as a wooden stake is driven through his heart, and his lifeless body falls to the ground. Holy wafers litter the surrounding floor, forming an impenetrable barrier between the monster and his killers. Cloaks billow, sets move about the stage, and the sunrise is projected over Seward’s asylum. It is the final act of Kaipara College’s Dracula: a two-hour show written by Steven Dietz – based on Bram Stoker’s classic novel – performed and (largely) produced by students.
The show – set in 1897 and performed in 2022 – is a visual showcase of the innumerable hours invested by students, teachers, and community members in the drama, music, and performing arts technology (PAT) departments.
This year’s production has been a long time in the making. Auditions were held during Term 1, and cast members received their scripts for the show in mid-April. PAT students have also been working on producing the sound and lighting for Dracula since returning to school in February. Students involved in the show (whether as a cast or crew member) received credits for their work from relevant NCEA standards. Rehearsals for Dracula started after the school holidays in May and in the following eight weeks, students and teachers worked tirelessly during and outside school hours to fine-tune the performance and its logistics. In the final weeks before the performances, students spent both Saturday
and Sunday rehearsing the show for upwards of eight hours each day, in addition to their existing practice schedule.
Dracula’s cast – an ensemble of 22 students – was split in two for this year’s production to ease pressure caused by illness related absences. The Coven Cast performed on Tuesday and Thursday evening of Term 3’s Week 9, while the Clan Cast performed on Wednesday and Friday. Many cast members also took up roles in the production’s crew, where a further 33 students, teachers, and community members were involved. Everything from
Dracula’s set, lighting, sound, special effects, costuming, and props were designed and produced within Kaipara College. The school’s productions are held annually. Previous shows include Jack and the Beanstalk (another take on a classic story), Level Up, Avenue Q, and Rock of Ages, which have seen their audiences immersed into worlds of futuristic video games, musicals, and puppets.
As Dracula’s final act finishes and the actors take a sweeping bow, the hushed audience breaks into applause. The actors’ faces dissolve from a maddened Renfield, a malicious Dracula, and a bubbly Mina – to a collection of broad smiles: those we sit next to
in classes and see around campus. A group of undeniably talented and driven young actors doing what they love. Once the applause dwindles, Renfield delivers his final line, “A fear once rooted in your mind is yours forever.”

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